Tykillen Farm was featured in the Irish Farmers Journal on 5 July 2023.

Embracing sustainability on Footprint Farms

By adopting sustainable social, economic and environmental practices now, we not only pave the way for a brighter future but can also reap immediate benefits, writes Emma Hart PhD, conservation ecologist.

For farms to be truly sustainable, we must balance environmental, economic and social goals. This involves protecting our natural resources, ensuring profitability, and fostering resilient local communities. When we can get this balance right, we not only improve our own lifestyles and support thriving rural communities, but we also build a solid foundation for the next generation – giving them the opportunity to discover creative new ways of farming the land sustainably for years to come. Today, achieving this balance on Irish farms is a big challenge, but it is one that three generations on Footprint Farmer Ciara Kinsella’s farm in Co Wexford are rising to meet.

In the 1980s, Ciara’s parents, Frances and John, took over Tykillen Farm, (featured previously in these pages), 26ha of grazing land on the eastern bank of the River Slaney.

Recognising the limitations of deep clay soils, they set about working with, rather than against, the heavy ground. While sheep farming was the primary enterprise, 15 wetter acres were put into forestry. Rather than planting a monocultural crop of conifers, however, Frances and John opted for a diverse mix of native species, meaning that a large portion of the farm is now bordered by a lively native woodland.

Growing up, Ciara and her siblings, Patrick, Shane and Aoife, loved nothing more than to ramble the woodland and to help out on the farm. These early experiences have had a significant impact, as three of the children have returned to Tykillen in recent years, drawn back by their love for the farm and its surroundings. Ciara, who has trained as a vet, has energetically and creatively taken over the main farm.

You can read the full article in The Farmers Journal: https://www.farmersjournal.ie/embracing-sustainability-on-footprint-farms-772453 

Ciara Kinsella’s homebred sport horses seek shade during the hot weather in early June. Trees and hedgerows provide vital shade and shelter for livestock, while also capturing carbon and providing habitat for biodiversity.

Aoife Morris’s bouquets are created using wildflowers that still grow in abundance on the home farm. Sustainable farming approaches build a solid foundation for the next generation – giving them the opportunity to discover creative new ways of living of the land for years to come. See www.wildflowerweddings.ie

Embracing sustainability on Footprint Farms

Cathal and Tadgh enjoying building a wildlife pond on their farm in Co. Wexford. Having a pond on your farm is a simple and effective way to store water for use in dry spells, while also providing a fantastic habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.