Tonight’s episode of Ear to the Ground will feature a segment on farm thefts; a family who are taking a very different approach when it comes to protecting their valuable poultry enterprise and farmers who have created an ecological haven for all kinds of biodiversity.
Over two-thirds of farmers have been victims of crime, many of them more than once. Farmers are especially vulnerable as their homes and yards are often isolated in the countryside, their assets like machinery and livestock are easily moved, and they often work alone.
Darragh McCullough reports from North County Dublin where there has been a spate of farm thefts in recent times; some have resulted in assaults and animals being butchered in fields.
He speaks to farmers who have had livestock and equipment stolen, and to the Gardaí who are planning a clampdown using wildlife and road traffic acts.
Comeragh Mountain Poultry
On the Kiely farm in the middle of the Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford, Clotilde and her husband David are taking a very different approach when it comes to protecting their valuable poultry enterprise.
Even though there are geese; hens; ducks and turkeys all roaming freely, there is a lack of any electric fences or gates to keep them safe from the many predators like fox and mink that are plentiful in this part of the country.
But while the fences may be missing, their poultry is safe in the hands of two enormous Pyrenean Mountain dogs - Bruce and George - who have been specially bred to guard these birds.
Ella McSweeney went to the farm in Ballynakill and met both dogs and owners to look into how the system works, and also to talk about local food production in the county.
One of the biggest issues facing all Irish farmers when it comes to the environment is pollution of waterways - when waste water runs off from their farmyards.
In Dunhill in Co. Waterford, a group of farmers have gone back to basics when it comes to dealing with their wastewater and put in wetlands to soak up and clean any contaminated water, and in doing so created an ecological haven for all kinds of biodiversity.
Helen Carroll visited Eugene Dunphy’s farm in the Anne River Valley to see first-hand how the wetlands work; she also checks out the local school and village where the whole community is benefiting from what the farmers are doing here.
Ear to the Ground - produced by indiepics for RTÉ - broadcasts on RTÉ One on Thursdays at 8.30pm and is repeated at 13:10pm on Sunday.
Image source: TVPR