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PJ Pollard - Dairy Sheep

P.J is a dairy sheep producer in Co. Kilkenny. He is currently farming 90 acres, milking 270 sheep while also farming 20 pedigree NewbieAubrac cows

He is a cabinet maker by trade but gave that up to take over the family farm 4 years ago. At that time it was a commercial Suckler herd

Motivations

PJ's main motivations included:

  • “make something of the family farm and for it to be sustainable”
  • He was also farming part time when working as a cabinet maker and the workload was too much so one of them had to go
  • He always liked farming and believes it to be a ‘rewarding way of living’, ‘every day is enjoyable’ and ‘a nice family balance life’
  • He wanted to make a living from the farm

Success factors:

  • Access to land – family farm
  • Family support – “still run as a family farm, everyone helps out during busy times”
  • Well established company to supply and they also helped out great at the start – Cashel Blue Cheese

Key hurdles:

  • “At present no initiatives for farmers to farm full time”
  • Income at farm level is very poor at present and if “relying solely on farm it can be hard to meet living expenses”
  • No finance made available from the bank, had to finance start up by himself – “if I was to milk dairy cows the bank would have given him any amount of money he wanted but none for milking sheep”

Recommendations:

“Capital should be made more accessible to the young farmer”

  • “Make farming more appealing to young people”
  • “Farmer has to get far cut of the product”