Cooil Brothers Champion Conservation

David and Rob Cooil, of Ballagawne Farm in Ballabeg, have been awarded the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group's (FWAG) Silver Lapwing Award.

David and Rob Cooil, of Ballagawne Farm in Ballabeg, have been awarded the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group's (FWAG) Silver Lapwing Award.

Having already won FWAG Isle of Man’s Bronze Chough award, the eco-conscious brothers saw off stiff competition from farmers across England and Wales, to lift the British title. 

Chris Butler, who visited and judged the five shortlisted farms, said:

“David and Rob really go the extra mile and clearly demonstrate outstanding commitment to wildlife conservation. 

“The manner in which they efficiently harness the resources available to them, also impressed.” 

In recent years, the siblings have successfully introduced a grass-based dairy system on their family-run farm, whilst protecting and enhancing natural features and habitats. This has seen wildlife flourish and lead to the rediscovery of some wildflower species. 

David Cooil said: “We are over the moon and incredibly proud to showcase Manx farming. 

“We’d like to thank FWAG and the Isle of Man Government, who have helped us to join up the dots and support us to run a successful business that enhances our unique Biosphere. 

“Our farm has family and nature at its heart and we look after our soils and habitats to strike a balance with a carefully managed grazing system to help deliver a profitable dairy business.” 
The brothers make full use of the Government’s Agri-environment scheme, which offers targeted funding for farm-based projects that benefit the environment, boost biodiversity or mitigate flooding and climate change. 

In line with the educational aims of the Isle of Man’s Biosphere status they have also opened their farm gates to school children to inspire the next generation and explain the role farmers play as custodians of the countryside. 

Clare Barber MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

“This is fantastic news and incredibly well deserved. It is excellent recognition for how productive farming can work hand-in-hand with conservation efforts to deliver profit and boost biodiversity.” 
The Isle of Man will now host the 46th Silver Lapwing presentation in 2025. 

Paul and Hilary Fletcher, who run the Isle of Man branch of FWAG and attended the brothers’ presentation in Wales, said: “We are delighted to have helped facilitate the inclusion of a Manx finalist for the first time. 

“It will always remain a very special moment in our lives when David and Rob were crowned winners of the 45th Silver Lapwing Trophy. They are a shining example of the way in which Manx farmers support the environment and wildlife whilst sustainably producing food as custodians of the Manx countryside.”

Posted up on 25th June 2024


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