Construction company owner on returning to the family farm
My week... James Reilly
It's full steam ahead at James Reilly's farm in Cavan where the 30-year-old is flat out reinstating the beef and sheep enterprise which has been in the family for the past four generations.
James returned to farming in earnest two years ago. The family farm in Ballyjamesduff had been leased for the best part of 15 years after his dad, Jim, suffered a stroke and had to scale back on his farming activities.
James has been running his own construction company- JR Smart Build - mainly in Cavan and Meath since graduating from college in Enniskillen in the 1990s, but always had an ambition to return to farming.
So between the new builds and house restorations, he went back to the nearby Ballyhaise Agricultural College to complete his Green cert in 2015.
"Dad was delighted when I made the decision and it's great to have him around the farm. He's not able for the physical side of the work, but it's great to get his advice and to have him keeping an eye on things," he says.
James still runs his construction company but is upping his work rate at the family's 140ac farm in Kildorough and, over time, expects to return the enterprise to its former commercial glory.
"I will be doing it gradually and it will probably take about five years to complete what I have in mind for the farm, but that suits me. I will gradually build up the stocking levels on the land over time," he adds.
At the moment, he rears around 60 bought-in Angus and Hereford calves to 18 months and sells them on to Liffey Meats. He also has some 200 sheep on the farm. They lambed around Christmas and he expects to have 30 of the lambs to be ready for the local marts come Easter time. The farm also produces an average of 800 tonnes of silage, most of which he sells on to local farmers as his current stocking levels are not of a size which would require such a level of stored feed.