Ground Level


Luke Donohoe

Blackwater, Wexford

Dairy farming has been in my family for years. We’re milking about 80 cows at the moment. Farming can be a tough life with a lot of early mornings but if it’s in your blood, you enjoy it. It has been a tough summer with the rain and trying to get silage made, but you just have to keep going.

I’m in secondary school. I’d like to study agricultural science in college and keep the farming tradition going in my family. I think it definitely has a future in Ireland, we just need more young people to stick with it.

Mark Johnston

Dundalk, Co Louth

I’m involved in beef suckler farming, we have about 25 livestock. Farming has been in my family for two generations. It’s quite difficult to make a good living at the moment, so I’d probably need another job to keep going.

I’m in agricultural college in Kildalton. There’s only three girls in the class. The prospects for farmers are good if you’re efficient; prices for grain are good at the moment. The bad weather this summer set beef back big time and it was difficult to get silage made.

Martin John Kelly

Blackwater, Co Wexford

I’m a beef farmer. We have about 30 cattle. This has been a difficult summer because the grass growth wasn’t great and you had to keep moving the cattle around. Some people think farming is a difficult life but it’s not if you enjoy what you do and it’s in your family for generations.

Every job is tough in its own way but I think farming has a future. I like being in the open air, I don’t think I could do an office job. I’m in Leaving Cert year now and would like to go on and do agricultural science.

Michelle Byrne

Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare

I’m involved in sheep, beef suckler and raising horses on a farm of about 100 acres. My dad’s family have been farming for generations. I’m a full-time farmer.

This summer has made it more difficult to get work done. There have been many delays and, when you get good weather, there’s a big rush to get everything done. Feed is expensive and the quality of the silage won’t be great this year so that will involve supplementing the feed. Between vet’s bills and fertiliser, it all adds up.

Conor O’Keeffe

Blackwater, Wexford

I worked on my uncle’s dairy farm during the summer and milked about 60 cows.

You are up early in the morning and you have to be around in the evenings, too, so it’s not like a nine-to-five job.

I would like to keep the farming up so I might study agricultural science too. The points have gone up for it so it’s become a popular course.

It’s something you have to be passionate about because it’s not like a regular job.

Gail Daniel

Kilmoganny, Kilkenny

I was born and brought up in Hong Kong until I was 15 and moved to Ireland. It was not until I met my husband that I got into farming. I work full time on the farm with him and we also rear free-range pigs.

This year we also do contract rearing of goslings. Farming life is difficult, particularly with the early mornings. I was up this morning at half five getting the cows in. Even if its raining or snowing, you have to keep it going but on the plus side, when the weather is good, you’re out in the open air.