Kildare farmers shortlisted for prestigious 'Farming for Nature Award' 2019

Kildare farmers shortlisted for prestigious award

Mark Hurst of Featherfield Farm in Lullymore West in Rathangan, Co Kildare, is nominated for the 'Farming for Nature Award’

Mark and Alison Hurst, of Featherfield Farm, Lullymore West in Rathangan, Co Kildare, have been announced as one of ten ‘Farming for Nature’ Ambassadors in the running for the overall ‘Farming for Nature Award’ for 2019.

Members of the public, and in particular the farming community, are being asked to vote for their top pick, won last year by The Calveys of Achill Mountain Lamb.

Now in its second year, the prestigious award is part of a wider independent initiative ( which hopes to source, share and celebrate the stories of those farmers across Ireland who are doing great things for nature on their land and in their community.

A short video has been made about each shortlisted farmer and now the public are being asked to view the films and vote for their favourite one, with voting ending Thursday Oct 24, 2019. 

Klaus Laitenberger, Organic Agriculture and Horticulture Inspector, The Organic Trust CLG, who nominated the couple, stated: ‘In my opinion this is the most impressive farm in terms of farming for biodiversity as well as running a profitable farm. Walking through the fields I found at least 20 species of grasses and wildflowers. The farm is very diverse in itself with diverse enterprises such as beef production from rare breed Dexter cattle, a small sheep enterprise, a poultry layer and broiler enterprise as well as a collection of rare breed poultry. There is also a small vegetable and fruit growing enterprise as well as a beekeeping enterprise’.

One of the volunteers with Farming for Nature, Dr. Brendan Dunford of the Burren Programme, said that ‘the stories told by these ten ambassadors are so educational and inspirational. Their knowledge and passion shines through, providing powerful testimony as to how farming and nature can, and must, work in harmony. We hope that these stories – which also demonstrate that simple actions can make a big difference for the wellbeing of nature and of people - will inspire other farmers to take some small steps to look after their farm’s wildlife. As a society we must also recognise that these farmers are deserving of our respect and support: they embody all that’s great about rural Ireland.’

The ten ambassadors will be featured at the annual Burren Winterage Weekend ( in October when the winner of the public vote will also be announced. The prestigious award, sponsored by Bord Bia, is part of the independent Farming for Nature initiative which hopes to celebrate and support farmers across Ireland who are doing great things for nature on their land and in their community.

From an initial longlist of farmers – nominated by over 150 environmental professionals earlier this year – ten ambassadors representing a range of geographies and farming systems have been selected, joining six others from 2018.

The Farming for Nature Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network.

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