The tragic death on March 15 of Philip Reck, Courtnacuddy, Enniscorthy, left a great void in the life of his beloved partner Martina, his two daughters Aideen and Eve, his mother Anne and his brothers Eamon and Michael.
We will also be dearly missed by friends, neighbors, cooney Furlong Grain Ltd co-workers and the entire farming community.
Philip was born April 1, 1979 and was the third son of Peter and Anne Reck (née: Marsh), Courtnacuddy, Enniscorthy.
He was predeceased by his father in 2016.
Philip attended Courtnacuddy Elementary School and completed high school at CBS, Enniscorthy.
From 1997 to 1999, he attended the Waterford Institute of Technology where he obtained a certificate in agro. Science.
Philip then left for Wales where he obtained a BSc. Hon. Diploma in Agricultural and Business Studies from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, also qualified as an IASIS Certified Agronomist.
He then obtained a certificate in Crop Nutrition Management and won the “Student of the Year” award.
It was during his studies in Wales that he made two consecutive harvests in the United Kingdom, in 2000 and 2001.
He then traveled to Australia for the harvest and drove a combine harvester in Queensland and New South Wales.
This was followed by a spraying season in New South Wales, Australia, and at the end of that overseas period, Philip decided to return to Ireland.
It was the 2002 harvest when Philip started working for Walter Furlong Grain Ltd.
This was the time when major changes were taking place in the mechanization of farming.
Beginning in 2002, Philip held several positions within the group, culminating in two senior positions including that of Production Manager at Cooney Furlong Grain Co. where one of his roles was the formulation and production of 150 different fertilizers.
Philip also held the position of Agricultural Director at Walter Furlong Grain Ltd.
It was then that his professionalism, his interpersonal skills and his sense of organization became evident, essential elements for the proper functioning of the two companies.
His positive approach to both roles and consistent, high-quality work ensured the effective overall performance of both companies.
Philip was also a person who was always ready to cooperate and listen to his co-workers.
Creative thinking and problem solving were two skills frequently used by Philip in his workplace.
He possessed a quiet confidence in all matters relating to agriculture and soil health, insisting that every job on the farm should be done to the highest standard of perfection.
It was during this time that he also contributed to a monthly, two-year crop report for the arable section of the UK magazine Farmers’ Weekly.
Outside of his job, Philip was widely known in farming circles for his expertise in soil science, cover crops and grain promotion and was always happy to share his knowledge and offer advice.
He always had a love for continuous research and learning and lived by the motto “every day is a day of school”.
Philip was a leader and promoter of catch crops and someone who focused on their use in grain production.
In many ways he was ahead of scientific research organizations in Ireland with his knowledge and in-depth understanding of their use and environmental benefits.
By sharing his research and knowledge, he has helped increase the number of catch crops sown in this country over the past 10 years.
It was from his deep interest and research in soil fertility that he set out to help other farmers and agricultural advisers to improve soil fertility.
Philip pioneered the use of broad-spectrum / in-depth soil testing in Wexford to show farmers and farm advisers their Calcium-v-Magnesium ratios, while advising them to look beyond testing. basis of soil pH.
Philip’s passion for cover crops and the knowledge he personally gained from his experience testing different species and mixtures of cover crops led the Irish Department of Agriculture to seek his advice on how encourage other Irish farmers to start growing these crops on their farms. .
This meant that he could accurately advise farmers on the most suitable type of lime for each type of soil and why some farms needed lime even if the pH was 6.5 and above.
This led him to earn the title of “Lime King” among his friends and colleagues at BASE Ireland.
He was also well known as a cover crop innovator among leading farmers and agricultural advisers, not only in Ireland, but in the UK, Europe and America.
A feat for a great son of Courtnacuddy.
Philip also had an exceptional understanding of the role that conservation agriculture, soil health and regenerative agriculture in Ireland contribute to sustainable grain production.
This understanding and expertise has been recognized and respected by many of his peers in Ireland and abroad.
It was Philip’s passion for wildflowers and the benefits to biodiversity and soil health that made him realize the massive decline in pollinating insects, especially bees, and that this balance could be restored in arable farms by drilling grass margins and sowing native “bee-friendly” plants. mixtures of wild flower seeds.
He also advocated the use of native Irish wildflowers as a disruptive crop, experimenting with seed mixes to provide weed control while using slow-growing varieties whose mat-forming roots would protect against soil erosion. .
He was deeply involved with BASE Ireland, a farmer-led education and support group, which he helped develop since its inception seven years ago.
Philip also served as group chairman for two years.
His great service to all his friends and colleagues at BASE Ireland will be remembered.
The high esteem in which he was held by BASE Ireland was reflected in a tribute on the group’s Instagram page on March 16: “It is never easy to talk about someone’s passing, much more tragic and untimely.
It is with shock and a very heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Philip Reck, a true pioneer of agriculture and once our selfless leader.
The one we all held in such high regard. Philippe was a true gentleman, known for his kindness, patience and generosity.
We remember him as a beloved friend, even beyond farming.
Philip’s energy, enthusiasm and friendly nature will be sorely missed by anyone who had the privilege of meeting him, especially at BASE Ireland.
As a group, we will strive to carry on Philip’s great legacy by making changes to agriculture as a testament to the selfless work he has done over the past seven years since our inception.
“Farmers educating farmers,” a direct quote from Philip himself, has become the motto and philosophy at the heart of our existence and the very mantra we will return to if we ever lose sight of our purpose. Thank you for everything Philip, it was an honor to know and learn from you “.
It is hoped that Philip’s legacy of bringing lasting change to agriculture and his mantra of ‘farmers educate farmers’ will never be forgotten.
The esteem in which Philip was held by those who knew him was perhaps well summed up by a friend of his who recently said, “He was a little man with a big heart.
While the Irish agricultural sector has suffered a huge loss with the tragic death of Philip, this becomes insignificant compared to the loss suffered by his immediate family.
Philippe was a devoted father to his two little daughters.
The family regularly enjoyed bike rides, swimming, GAA, and hiking through fields and woods with the dogs.
The hikes and walks were an opportunity to study the life cycles of plants, animals and the ever-changing seasons.
At home, he also took the time to be an avid grower of many varieties of pumpkins.
Philip and his partner Martina were truly “muintir na tuaithe”, country people, whom they both liked with their daughters.
Philip’s legacy will live on in Martina’s assurance that Aideen and Eve will become two more “mna na tuaithe”.
It is said that “if your name is in the hearts of others, you will never really die”.
A life well lived.
Slan abhaile Philip, Guimid Rath De ar anam dhilis
The esteem in which Philip was held by everyone within Cooney Furlong is reflected in the fact that the company is in the process of setting up a scholarship in Philip’s name with a local high school.
The scholarship will aim to provide financial assistance to a student in postgraduate agricultural education.