Roscommon farmer Liam Kildea was awarded the National Herdwatch Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award at this year’s FBD Better Farming Awards, which were held recently at the Heritage Hotel in Laois.
Liam and his family have farmed in South Roscommon for several generations. As a third generation farmer, Liam has made a big effort to maintain traditional methods of working the land, saying, “the older generations were much wiser, and they had a greater understanding for nature”.
Over the last five years, Liam has become a leader in the local community by co-ordinating biodiversity and ecological surveys of the area, and raising awareness of habitats with politicians (local, national and European) and among farmers and the general community.
Liam’s biodiverse farm is situated on the karst landscape of south Roscommon (an area of land made up of limestone, similar to the Burren landscape) and contains many unique plant species.
Liam is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about the unique karst landscape and geology of his farm and actively works to increase awareness of the historical, environmental, and cultural value of the type of land his farm contains.
Liam is part of the UÍ Maine Kingdom Group, which consists of Karst Farming Group, Celtic Eye Art Group, and Taughmaconnell Hall. The group has worked together over the past three years to highlight the unique karst landscape of South Roscommon, and the biodiversity, water, nature, heritage, culture, folklore, myths, and legends of the land.
The group said that they are delighted and honoured for Liam to have received this award, as it highlights not just Liam’s achievements, but the continued work farmers and locals have done in protecting this unique karst landscape for years.
The ‘Herdwatch Biodiversity Farmer of the Year’ award spotlights farmers who passionately integrate biodiversity into their commercial farming practices, emphasising the importance of a harmonious relationship between agriculture and nature.
In addition to Liam winning this category, Roscommon was represented at the awards by Peadar and Aoife Coyle (Curraghboy) who were finalists in the Germinal Sustainable Pasture Farmer of the year category, and the Uí Maine Kingdom Group itself, who were finalists in the Cormac Tagging Community/Discussion Group Incentive Scheme category.