Farmers Feed Families launched a social initiative earlier this summer to raise awareness of daily life in farms across Ireland. Each week Anne Brady of Farmers Feed Families will interview the tweeting Irish farmer on AgriLand.
“Here at Hushabye Farm we farm Alpacas. We started this venture four years ago and plan to build a highly prized Alpaca herd. We are a smallholding and currently farm part time. Everyone in the family contributes to the farm but my husband Paul is definitely the main farmer. Our four children are very much involved and our eldest (aged six) knows almost everything there is to know about Alpacas.
“Alpacas are farmed for their highly prized fleece, which is akin to cashmere, incredibly soft, warm and is hypoallergenic. There is currently nowhere in Ireland to have the fleece processed. The Alpaca Association of Ireland is working to develop a commercial mill, so we have had to send our raw fleece to Scotland to be processed. Alpacas are fantastic sheep and hen guards and in many countries are highly valued by sheep farmers to protect flocks during the vulnerable lambing season and are increasingly being used here to guard against foxes.
“We have had a number of clubs and school come to spend time at the farm and we are very keen to open the farm to the public. We are hoping to develop a full farm shop promoting a large range of Alpaca products alongside local produce, something we feel very strong about. We have a number of items that we sell including spun yarn, blankets and a small selection of baby items. We also have a number of hens and ducks on the farm and we sell their eggs at the gate. We are also looking at raising a small number of free range turkeys for the Christmas market this year. Spending time with such beautiful animals as Alpacas is an amazing experience and to do this on a daily basis, where the whole family can be involved, is a dream come true.
“I have been on Twitter about one year. I love that it allows you to connect to so many people who have similar interests as you. It’s also a great tool to help expand knowledge to both farming and non-farming people. I write a blog that gives an insight into our life with Alpacas and also my love of cooking, its here.”