'Within a short space of time, we were catering for groups from all over the world'
No matter where you are in the world farmers always love to talk farming. Whether it's the price of beef, new machinery or soil management, someone will have an opinion and words of advice. A problem shared is often a problem halved.
It was an idea based on this concept that Gerry and Aonghus Giggins discussed some years ago that led to Farm Tours Ireland being officially launched in 2011. The two-man team now offer bespoke agricultural and rural tours with access to Ireland's leading agricultural enterprises.
A native of Castlebellingham in Co Louth, Gerry came to the business with a considerable background in animal nutrition, having studied beef production in Holland before joining the Goodman Group in the late 1980s.
From there he joined Keenan Systems as director of nutrition and spent a number of years travelling, to some 40 countries, before finally branching out on his own as a nutrition consultant.
As the first person to develop bull feeding programmes in Ireland, he soon found a gap in the market for an advisor, and in 2007 he set up the company Nutrition Link to offer a range of packages to farmers to include feed budgeting and technical training. They now operate this in tandem with Farm Tours Ireland.
"I had been working away at the nutrition business while Aonghus was travelling in Australia," Gerry recalls. "He had studied agricultural science at UCD so had plenty of knowledge and experience when he came home in 2009."
By his own admission, Aonghus, 30, said their first group of guests with Farm Tours Ireland arrived shortly afterwards through contacts with some of the discussion groups around Ireland.
"From there it just took off and within a short space of time we found ourselves catering for groups from all over the globe. We've had people from Nepal, China and even India here to learn about our dairy production and a group from the Czech Republic saw some equipment in a butchers' shop and wanted to buy the freezers straight away."