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John Lalor – Kilbeggan Organic Foods

NewbieJohn an organic Beef and Tillage farmer in Co. Westmeath is currently farming 121 ha with half in grassland and half in tillage. The grassland is used to finish 200 beef cattle and the tillage is used to supply organic oats

John studied physiotherapy and left Ireland for Australia where he worked for 10 years.

Main motivations to return home to the farm:

  • His father was getting older
  • He wasn’t passionate about physiotherapy, he had seen different friends go and do a career change which opened his eyes.
  • His father started a food business with the farm produce when he was away which John found exiting. John states “Food business offers something for the future whereas farming doesn't when on its own”.

Main success factors:

  • Being Organic when it comes to selling
  • Contacts - built up a network of people over time
  • Being able to “retain more of the margin because they sell direct – cutting out the middle man”

Main hurdles:

  • Networks – not many young farmers who are farming and selling food. Bord Bia and Local Enterprise Office helped to overcome this
  • Knowledge was also a hurdle – completed a business degree and currently studying a masters in Organic Farming
  • Labour – “Midfield at the moment. Risk of hiring somebody can break your business”

Link to website: www.kilbegganorganicfoods.com/

Find out more about the New Entrant Network - NEWBIE here 

NEWBIE - Kilbeggan Organic Foods - John Lalor