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'The direct approach works best'

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Oragnic beef and sheep farmer Michael Seymour

Oragnic beef and sheep farmer Michael Seymour

Oragnic beef and sheep farmer Michael Seymour

Michael and Olive Seymour farm organic beef and Texel crossed sheep in Borrisokane, Co Tipperary.

Sheep have always been a part of this farm and Michael has a great affinity for them, hence his determination to make this aspect of the business viable.

In the past decade Michael, like many other farmers, was forced to look at alternative ways to increase his profits, so he looked at the viability of direct selling lamb.

"I remember reading an article in the Farming Independent way back in 1995/6 about a guy in Scotland who was selling his lamb direct.

"For some reason it really appealed to me, and it was something that I revisited on numerous occasions," Michael recalls.

"In 2000 I had lambs killed and the taste was really excellent. On the back of this I advertised in local papers and things slowly started to develop.

"Then in 2004 I took a stall at the Nenagh farmers' market and have been there for the last decade."

Michael's lamb sales are supported by beef sales, making his stall more attractive to customers.

For most farmers involved in direct meat sales, the challenge is to sell the whole animal to ensure a profit.

Recipes

In addition to high sales of mince, lamb shoulders, lamb and beef burgers, Michael manages this by distributing recipes at the market to show consumers how to use the less popular cuts of the meat.

"On a personal level selling direct has been very satisfying. It is a great affirmation of what you are doing on the farm.

"As a local producer in a rural market I am reliant on that community to support me. The additional benefits are that it creates a great connection between food and farming.

"As an organic farmer I have found that talking to customers is great way of promoting this method of farming," says Michael.

"In order to further increase sales and accessibility Michael has recently started online retailing to increase exposure to potential customers.

With over 1,000 followers on twitter, Michael is an avid social media fan and sees it as a great way to connect with people and advertise his products.

Indo Farming