Westmeath farmers James Ham and Kate Egan will host Farming for Nature walks on their farms this June and July.

Both James and Kate are Farming for Nature ambassadors.

The network, founded in 2018, seeks support farmers who farm, or wish to farm, in a way that will improve the natural health of the countryside.

Suckler farmer James Ham will host his farm walk, which will focus on rejuvenating old hedgerows and encouraging biodiversity with continuous cover forestry on Sunday 30 June.

Ham farms alongside his family in Moyvore, Co Westmeath.

Their 52ha farm is 50% under woodland or forestry and the other 50% is mature multispecies pasture including approximately 4ha of spring barley, which is used for feed and straw.

Ham has worked hard at greatly reducing the number of chemical inputs on the farm over the years.


There is over 4,000m of hedgerow on the farm, equivalent to approximately 1.5ha of linear woodland, which is left mostly untrimmed.

Regular hedge maintenance is by traditional hedge laying. These thick and mature hedges provide not only a crucial habitat for birds and insects, but also shelter for the livestock.

The continuous cover forestry system contains a wide range of hardwood and softwood trees.

Tree species include hawthorn, blackthorn, spindle, crab apple, oak, elm, holly, sycamore, alder, beech, birch, Norway spruce, douglas fir, larch, Scots pine and more.

“The afforested half of the farm, despite being relatively young, has greatly improved the amount of wildlife on the farm. Pine martin are now present and the jays are obviously doing their job, as we see little oak and hazel seedlings all over the site," Ham said.


Kate Egan from Ballymore, Co Westmeath, will host her farm walk entitled ‘Accelerating biodiversity and building climate resistance on a small holding’ on Sunday 7 July.

She runs a 9ac chemical-free farm called ‘An Ghrian Glas Farm’, which is dedicated to biodiversity and permaculture.

What was once a market garden providing fresh, local vegetables to restaurants and shops in the midlands has transformed into a vibrant community growing project.

In November 2023, Egan launched the ‘Grow Together’ project and invited people to come and grow with her for a year.

"Starting out to grow food is no easy feat. There are so many different aspects to learn. Growing as a group together provides community, shared responsibility for the garden and shared knowledge. It’s also a lot of fun," she said.

Network and engagement officer at Farming for Nature Sarah Coonan said: “Irish farmers want to do the best for the land and for future generations. These walks provide a wonderful roadmap for how to do just that on that any farm.

"There's one thing that's clear and that's that there is no one way to farm for nature. Our ambassador farm walks represent the wide diversity in Irish farming systems and approaches to farming with nature in mind."

The Farming for Nature ambassador walks cost €10 to attend.

Book here.

Farming for Nature receives funding support from the Department of Agriculture and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.