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Burren Farmers win Newbie New Entrant Competition 2022

Burren Beef and Farm Experiences, a business established by Bronagh and Cathal O’Rourke, located in the Burren, Co. Clare have been selected as the winners of the 2022 Newbie new entrant competition.

Cathal’s family have being farming the lands commercially for many generations and when Cathal took over the running of the farm along with his wife Bronagh they identified the opportunities to take the farm business in a different direction using the existing assets that they had available to them to maximum benefit.

The new farm business started in 2020 consists of three main parts.

1. Burren Beef was established to produce high quality organic beef from the farm where animals are allowed to graze the lowlands during the summer and are then out wintered on the Burren winterage area. The animals are slaughtered in a local butchery and the meat is boxed up to in different weight boxes and sold at local markets, restaurants and on line. All on line sales are delivered fresh to the door.

2. Burren Farm Experiences allow customers to visit the farm for a unique experience. Availing of the location and assets on the farm, visitors can get a first-hand experience of the running of the farm coupled with viewing many archaeological features, ancient forest, chapel, round field, turloughs etc. on the farm, and seeing the features of the Burren first hand.

3. Agri-camping, the O’Rourke’s also have four bell tents that are hired out of groups/families to come and stay on the farm and enjoy the outdoor camping experience.

Newbie New Entrant Competition 2022
Pictured from (L to R): were Chris Nolan, AIB Agri Advisor and sponsor of the Newbie competition, presents winning cheque to Cathal and Bronagh O’Rourke and Gordon Peppard, Teagasc, competition organiser.

Speaking following the announcement,

Bronagh O’Rourke said: “We are very proud to have won the Newbie award. As a couple, we have worked very hard over the past couple of years to establish the different elements of the business and it is great to get the recognition of Teagasc and the other stakeholders in winning this award.

Chris Nolan, AIB Agri Advisor said ”AIB is delighted to partner with Teagasc and other key stakeholders in supporting this initiative. The NEWBIE competition provides an excellent platform to showcase new entrants and their ideas. The competition received entries from a variety of enterprises this year, and AIB would like to congratulate all those who entered. New entrants are crucial for the sustainable development of the agri sector and AIB is committed to supporting the sustainable development of Irish agriculture”.  

Gordon Peppard, Collaborative Farming specialist Teagasc noted; “it is very exciting to see new and innovative agricultural related business’s established. Cathal and Bronagh recognised a gap in the market, they devised a business plan to maximise their strengths, made maximum use of existing assets on the farm whilst also enhancing their work life and family balance.

The Newbie Network started out in 2018 as an EU Horizon 2020 funded project with 10 European partners offering a unique platform to bring together new entrants, successors, advisors, researchers, important regional and national actors and relevant stakeholders in national networks, with the aim of enabling new entrants to successfully establish a sustainable farm business in Europe.

New entrants are defined in the Newbie network as anyone who starts a new farm business, or becomes involved in an existing farm business at any stage of their lives. New entrants across sectors and regions face common barriers such as; access to land, capital, knowledge and labour. The Newbie Network will identify and highlight new business models that overcome some of the barriers faced by new-entrants through 90 case studies and a video library available to new entrants across Europe. These will be shared through a range of European and national activities including; national discussion circles, videos and bilateral exchanges.

To keep up to date with all the latest news, and information on all the case studies across Europe can be found at; http://www.newbie-academy.eu/word-map/

The Newbie new entrant competition for 2022 was kindly sponsored by AIB Bank. In the photo, Chris Nolan AIB Agri Advisor can be seen presenting the winning prize of €1,000 to Cathal and Bronagh O’Rourke. Also pictured is Gordon Peppard, Teagasc the main organiser of the competition.