A drystock farmer from Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, has been named as the ‘2019 National Rural Network (NRN) Biodiversity Farmer of the Year’.

Alan Doyle was awarded the title at the FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards held in the Castleknock Hotel, Dublin, last night Tuesday, November 27.

The award aims to recognise farmers who are farming sustainably by encouraging biodiversity and protecting the environment.

Alan farms 170 breeding ewes and 23 suckler cows on approximately 86ha near the Blackstairs Mountains.

According to a statement from the NRN, Alan “is a champion” of good environmental management and has demonstrated a sincere passion for farming which protects and enhances biodiversity.

He is an active member of the Blackstairs Farming Group (BFG) who work closely with the Blackstairs Future Farming (BFF) pilot project which aims to adopt innovative approaches to add value to the Blackstairs hill farming system, while simultaneously improving habitats.

Alan is also an active participant in the RDP’s Green Low Carbon Agri-environmental Scheme (GLAS).

Commenting on receiving the award, Alan Doyle said: “I am delighted to have won this award and to be recognised for supporting biodiversity and nature on my farm.

I try to farm in conjunction with nature to protect the habitats on my farm. I want to leave this land in the best condition I can so future generations can enjoy the nature and the biodiversity it supports.

Congratulating the winner, Philip Farrelly of the National Rural Network said: “Throughout the semi-final and final rounds of this competition, the National Rural Network has been engaging with enthusiastic young farmers who have exhibited a passion for farming in a sustainable manner.

When we visited their farms, we saw some wonderful examples of farmers working in harmony with nature.

“Alan is farming in a manner which respects nature, ensuring the land is properly cared for and that the habitats within it are protected and maintained.”