Iris Steck can often be found transforming old wine barrels and small wooden boxes into new habitats for small animals.

With great attention to detail, the young farmer from Partschins/Parcines and her family built a bee house and an insect hotel from old wooden barrels, set up a post for birds of prey in the apple orchard, built a hedgehog house and nesting boxes for bats, earwigs and birds.

There are also feeding sites and water troughs nestled between the apple trees. The young farmer, who lives her passion through integrated production, even won the 2019 “Mei liabste Wies” competition on the back of these ecological niches.
Iris not only creates new homes for creepy-crawlies and birds, but for farm animals, too. Her family’s farm is home to sheep that Iris reared with a bottle, a pony, a dog, a goat, several ducks and two geese: Luise and Hugo.

Almost everyone is allowed to walk freely through the orchards during the day. “Only the sheep and the goat have to wait until after the autumn harvest. Just so that they don’t nibble on the apple tree leaves,” explains Iris. In 2013, right after graduating from high school, the young woman started working on her mother’s farm. Nowadays, she does everything herself: from pruning and harvesting to driving the tractor. Her parents also help out, but she does most of the work. Agriculture is her passion. She’ll take over the farm at some point.

In the beginning, it wasn’t always easy for Iris to be respected by other farmers. “It may sometimes be more exhausting for women than men, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.” Iris loves working out in the open and showing others that it’s possible to combine apple growing and animal husbandry.