Colin Marry's 800-sow unit would be classified as an average-sized pig farm, but he's anything but an average farmer.
After studying commerce in NUIG, he spent two years teaching English in Asia, before returning to Ireland in 2007 and working on the family farm at Littlegrange near Drogheda in Co Louth.
He did an online masters in agricultural economics and a pig management course with Teagasc and started running the farm, which was split between him and his two brothers in 2015.
"One of the first projects I undertook was to put in a home mill and mix system which manufactures the feed on the farm," he says. "We buy in the raw materials - wheat, barley, soya etc - which saves us about 10pc.
"It is a fully automated, computerised system which has pros and cons. The feed is made on-demand so the computer can ask the pen if there is feed needed, depending on whether the feed is at a certain level.
"If there is a problem or something goes down, it has to be fixed straight away because the whole farm isn't getting fed.
"Recently the motor that runs the entire feed mill broke down at 10pm on a Friday. We have an electrician who has been with us for over 30 years and he knows we're not going to be ringing him for something trivial so we were able to get it fixed.
"I wouldn't change it because it has a lower capital cost and allows us to get fresh, high-quality feed to the pigs regularly."
Sustainability is one of the values underpinning Colin's approach and he has established a company called Permapigs, which follows on the permaculture method - a system of sustainable agriculture centred on utilising the patterns of natural ecosystems.
"I believe climate change is a problem, and one big step we can take to combat this is integrated systems," he says.
"For example, I'm looking at growing algae beside the pigs (unit). All the inputs for algae are the outputs for pig production, heat, manure, CO2 etc. I'm looking at feeding it as protein back to the pigs, but I haven't been able to develop this fully yet because it costs a huge amount in research and development.
"I've applied for grants and funding to develop it further but I wasn't successful. There are other problems in farming at the minute so I'll look at those and come back in the future when I've got more cash-flow to work with.
"I've travelled to over 40 counties over the last decade and have found that most of the problems in farming are the same around the world. Farmers have the same complaints, but the solutions aren't off the shelf - you have to find them yourself.
Colin believes that in many ways farming is a victim of its success as the underlying problem is urbanisation and the gap between producer and consumer.
"Globalisation of the food chain has meant that if the farmer tries to add value to their product by the time it gets to the consumer it's hard for them to understand the value that has been created," he says.
"It's a poor system as it leads to farmers struggling to make a living and consumers not understanding the product.
"It's only when you have that direct connection with the consumer that you can get the proper return on your product - it needs to be under your brand."
Colin feels there are two solutions: taste and developing a direct connection with consumers.
"I've developed a unique programme which involves feeding an olive bi-product to them to enhance the taste of the pork," he says.
"I found that people are moving away from pork. You don't see it as much on menus in restaurants so I'm trying to look at trying to change the flavour profile of the meat.
"The olive feeding programme does this - it makes it more succulent. It's been reviewed by Michelin Star-winning chefs and food critics and they've backed this up, so now I just need to turn it into a business.
"I also feed them the bi-product of rapeseed oil so it is four times higher in omega 3 than traditional pork.
"I try to sell the pork locally and internationally as well so I've taken on someone based in Vietnam to import it for me. I hope to launch the olive pork there in the coming weeks.
"We're just working on the logistics, which is a nightmare with the Covid situation, but we'll keep persevering and get there eventually."
The olives idea was developed more by accident than design. Having been contacted by a friend to trial the idea as a way of improving pig growth and health, Colin then found out it would improve the taste.
"We did the trial and it didn't work but when we tasted it we realised there could be something to it," he says.
Meanwhile, Colin is developing a visitor experience which he aims to launch in 2021.
"The only way to control the conversation is by explaining what happens and telling the story (of their food)," he says.
"I need to invest a lot in it to make it fit for purpose. In the first version of it, they won't be going onto the farm because it is a working farm and there are biosecurity issues, so it will be an audiovisual and taste thing.
"Food and tourism go hand in hand. If you can add a retail brand to this then it would make a lot of sense. Outside organisations can help out but aren't going to lead something like this - there's only so far they can bring it. It needs to be farmer-led to go forward.
"There's a lot of misunderstanding about pork and meat in general so this will lead to an informed conversation on where food comes from.
"At the minute people get their information on food from Netflix documentaries but this isn't really what happens in Ireland. A lot of people choose to go vegan and they're not fully informed on their decision and don't eat in a way they can sustain, and those that do sustain it suffer from issues with their health.
"I don't want to say to people that something is right or wrong, but I can give them the main information to keep in mind.
"The success of farming has allowed people to move away from the land and this has caused this gap in information, and the only way to change this is to bring people back to the farm.
"I've had a few school tours and it does work well."
While there are options to expand Colin's business further, supply chain issues have prevented him from reaching more customers.
"I did have orders from other countries that I couldn't meet," he says.
"I'm working on overcoming those challenges so I can meet the demand. Factories are set up for volume and can't segregate my meat properly."
Colin is also heavily involved in local pig producer groups and the Irish Pig Health Society, and he is on the board of a European pig producers' organisation.
"You have to be all-in on these things," he says. "Farming is a lifestyle more than a profession."
Colin Marry is adamant that farming can be made more environmentally friendly without compromising output.
He is all about finding uses for products that other farmers might discard. And he is particularly concerned about the overuse of antibiotics.
"Farming can be linear," he says. "Things go in and out and there's a lot of things involved that are not utilised. We need to look at these things to produce more.
"It doesn't happen overnight - you need a lot of time to adapt a traditional farm.
"When it comes to the environment, rather than reducing what we're doing, it's about looking at the connectiveness.
"The pig is the great recycler of food. In my case they reuse the by-products from the rapeseed and olive oil industry.
"In recent times focus has been on increasing production but now there is more of a realisation that sometimes we can go to far in one direction and forget about the overall connectiveness of the world, especially with the increased awareness of our carbon footprint.
"I think there are answers in farming, for example with the algae I was producing from the waste streams from pig production. But it would take a lot of investment in the long term to make it work. It's all about joined-up thinking."
When it comes to animal health, Colin stresses that there are options that don't involve over-using antibiotics.
"We try to improve pig health in the long term," he says. "There's pressure on using less antibiotics, so I'm looking for ways to improve the health of the animal without using antibiotics.
"I haven't used blanket feed or in-water antibiotics in several years, so if an individual animal needs treatment then they get an injection.
"I started using an algae supplement which improved the lactating pig health and in turn improved the suckling pig health."
Colin has previously stressed: "Healthy animals don't need antibiotics. Antibiotics are very important for the treatment of sick animals and I think farmers have a duty to try to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics for the future by using them responsibly and only when necessary.
"That is the message I would like to get out to farmers. We need to make sure we use antibiotics in a careful and targeted way so that they continue to work well against the illnesses we need them for."