'I knew I couldn't make a living by keeping the farm'
On Good Friday in 1992, Billy Kelly had a decision to make - continue the mixed enterprise at the family farm in Streamstown near Mullingar, Co Westmeath, or literally "branch out" and develop the 35-acre holding into a nursery, which was more in tune with his horticultural qualification.
He had just taken over the family farm after the passing of his dad Bill and it was a "poser" for the youngest of the seven Kelly siblings.
Billy, who has a horticultural qualification from Warrenstown agricultural college, opted for the nursery and hasn't looked back since - despite some tough times for the enterprise during the financial collapse of 2008 and the desperately cold weather the midlands suffered in 2010, which nearly destroyed the business.
Today, Billy (52) runs the thriving Kelly Nursery on 27 acres of the home farm along with his sister Eileen, employing 18 people - or, as he likes to say, "I support some 17 families in the area and export some 30pc of the nursery stock to Britain annually".
His company provided the security hedging for the G8 summit in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in 2013, and Billy can boast that his nursery products adorn William Shakespeare's House and Garden in Stratford-upon-Avon.
He also delivers his products to the nearby Tayto Park, to say nothing of his celebrity clients, who live in upmarket locations like Dalkey in Co Dublin.
The nursery is also approved to provide products for farmers in GLAS.
But most of his stock goes to Irish and British nurseries and Billy is currently trying to expand his continental business with the help of Bord Bia.