Two Farming for Nature (FFN) ambassadors are to host separate farm walks on their lands in counties Donegal and Kildare next weekend.

They are part of a national series of events offering an opportunity for FFN farmers to showcase their contribution to nature and good farming practices on their land.

The tours, which both take place on Saturday (July 23), include an opportunity to view the habitats and species on the farms, the individual farming system and a discussion on land management in support of nature.

FFN said that all monies raised through ticket sales will be circulated back into the farming community.

Poultry, lamb and honey in Donegal

The first walk takes place at 11:00a.m on Saturday on the Donegal lands of regenerative farmer Cathal Mooney.

He takes a holistic approach to working on Heather Hill Farm, focusing on ecological, social and economical goals.

The enterprise produces pasture-raised turkey, chicken and eggs, wildflower honey and grass-fed lamb.

Cathal Mooney. Image: Farming for Nature

Animals on the farm are moved to fresh pasture daily as part of a planned grazing system.

Fruit and nut trees and berry bushes have been planted throughout the grassland to increase biodiversity and contribute to soil health.

Cathal is no stranger to farm walks and regularly hosts tours and open days to show customers first-hand, his regenerative farming practices.

“Our goal is to produce local food for the community. We want our customers to become our friends and come to the farm to see how their food is produced,” he said.

“Working in ways that mimic nature, building healthy soil, selling direct to customers and providing education around regenerative agriculture is central to what they do at Heather Hill Farm.

“We aim to produce quality grass-fed produce that improves the soil, adds value to our community and sustains the farm into the future,” the farmer said.

Conservation agriculture in Kildare

At 2:00p.m that same day, Norman Dunne and his father Michael will welcome visitors to their 400ac tillage farm outside Maynooth in Co. Kildare.

Around four years ago, the pair decided to move from conventional, intensive tillage and implement a regenerative farming system.

Cereals grown on the farm include beans, oats, barley and wheat for the animal feed market. Norman also produces hay for the equine market.

A small number of pigs and sheep are also kept to graze cover crops and pasture.

The farmers, who are part of the Danú European Innovation Partnership (EIP), are focused on regenerating soil biology and reducing external farm inputs where possible.

Crops are grown using minimal disturbance methods like direct drilling and/or min-till, while crop rotations and permanent organic soil cover systems are in place.


The Dunne family has incorporated multi-species cover crops to build soil fertility, enhance soil structure and provide a food source for pollinating insects.

“Biodiversity has exploded on the land here in the past three or four years. There are birds here now that I have never seen on the farm before,” Norman said.

Norman is also experimenting with biodynamic preparations and Korean natural farming methods to enhance the soil biology and to inoculate seeds before sowing.

“You’re getting the seeds off to the best possible start that you can give them by inoculating with something biological rather than something chemical,” he said.

“It encourages the bond between the seed and the soil. It’s a natural defence from pathogens. It’s like colostrum for a baby.”