Organic beef farmer, Jane Shackleton, from Mullagh, on her farm on the Cavan Meath border.

Mullagh farmer features in Bord Bia campaign

Organic beef farmer, Jane Shackleton, from Mullagh, is one of four farmers featured in a new Bord Bia campaign showcasing farmers and growers who are taking action to help the environment.

Starting today, Monday, November 16, the campaign will run for four weeks incorporating targeted advertising across social media, print, video and online.

Under the tag line, Irish farmers – innovating through nature, the campaign features Jane alongside three other Bord Bia Quality Assured Irish farmers: Dairy farmer, Bruce Thompson; sheep farmer, Brian Nicholson, and farm manager at Finnegan’s Farm, John Smith.

Jane Shackleton has been farming full-time for just five years, but is the third generation of women farming on the shores of Mullagh Lake, on the Cavan-Meath border.

At Lakeview Organic Farm, she tends to 70 hectares of farmland, raising organic Angus and Belted Galloway cattle. These short and stocky breeds are known for their hardiness to cold climes and have been specifically chosen to suit Jane’s farm.

The farm has over 40 hectares of woodland, planted 22 years ago featuring ash, oak, birch, larch, beech, Norway spruce and Scots pine. In areas where the tree canopy allows more light for grass to grow, the woodland is grazed by Jane’s cattle – a farming practice known as agro-forestry. The shelter provided by the trees allows Jane to keep her cattle outdoors throughout winter.

“When the weather gets wet the cattle can come in here or in drought as well, the grass can still grow. It gives them access to a lot more diversity than just grassland, they have ivy, they have the leaves on the trees, and they can forage and eat whatever they want,” explains Jane.

As well as the woodland, the farm has a diverse mixture of grasslands including traditional hay meadows.

Jane is currently studying a PhD with University College Dublin and Devenish where her focus is multispecies swards. In layman terms, this means adding a range of grass species and herbs to pastures that provide nutrients for both the soil and for the animals.

Jane, who along with her parents Jonathan and Daphne is a Farming for Nature Ambassador, believes that working with nature yields the strongest results.

“We know what our priorities are and we protect areas for biodiversity, we leave areas for wildlife, while at the same time producing 100% grass-fed beef.”

She believes that wildlife is a valued part of her enterprise and wants to make sure the farm continues to support a diverse and healthy ecosystem.

Positive impact

Speaking about the campaign, Deirdre Ryan, director of Origin Green and Quality Assurance at Bord Bia noted: “Individual farmers who are making additional efforts to protect the environment are often overlooked in the debate about agriculture emissions. Through this campaign, Bord Bia wants to highlight positive stories to the public – targeted at the non-farming public – who may be unaware of the practices and initiatives Irish farmers undertake to benefit the environment.”

The campaign will be targeted at urban adults with an interest in green living, the outdoors, animal welfare and food. The campaign aims to provide accessible information on the farming practices adopted by each farmer that contributes positively to the environment and animal health.