This year, 2014, is the UN Food and Agriculture ‘Year of the Family Farm’. Around the world, during the year, the profile of family farming and small holders is being raised by focusing attention on its significant role in providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development.

Given the critical role of the family farm in Ireland, Teagasc is producing a series of online videos, featuring farming families in different parts of the country, looking at the role of the family and their contribution to farming throughout the year.

The first family featured are the Calvey family from Co. Mayo, located four miles from Westport in Knappabeg. Martin and Maria Calvey, along with their three children, Ciaran, Conor and Aisling work together as a family unit on their suckler and sheep enterprises.

Teagasc advisor Mary Roache describes this farm as typical of the area with a mix of lowland and hill land used for the cattle and sheep enterprises. The lowland sheep flock consists of Suffolk cross ewes, while the hill sheep flock are a cross between Blue Faced Leicester and Blackface Mountain. The suckler enterprise consists of a pedigree herd of 20 Charolais and five Angus cows. All bulls are kept on and sold as breeding animals at specialised sales, usually in Carrick-On-Shannon or Tullamore. Martin is an active member of both sheep and beef discussion groups, which are facilitated by Teagasc, and the family has also found the Teagasc e-Profit Monitor an invaluable management tool in planning on the farm.