A group of farmers in Mayo have turned to diversification in order to ‘give their businesses new life’, with projects ranging from agri tourism to online marketing.

The farmers were featured on the Teagasc farm business options webinar on Tuesday morning, where viewers heard how the west coast entrepreneurs have adapted their businesses to stay viable.

Farm tourism

Louisburgh sheep farmer Catherine O’Grady Power launched an on-farm agri tourism diversification project in 2014 with the opening of a visitor centre and gift shop.

“The farm is located in the Doolough Valley in a special area of conservation, with a rich historical past. Pre-famine homesteads are located on our farm in little cluster villages, which were lucky to have escaped British evictions.

“Glen Keen Farm offers visitors a range of experiences including sheep dog herding, traditional turf cutting, guided historical walks, wool spinning and traditional music.”

Remaining as a fully operational sheep farm, O’Grady Power encourages other to explore the agri tourism route, advising those interested to reach out to existing companies for advice.

Carbon farming

Vegetable and fruit grower Joe Reilly is the owner of Glasraí, an organic company based in Hollymount, Co Mayo.

The business was founded in 2016 with just one polytunnel and now has seven acres of fruit and vegetables planted.

“I originally come from a beef and sheep farm and for most years, you could rely on one or the other if prices weren’t great. Organic sounds like hard work to most people, but we enjoy it.

“On page two of this week’s Irish Farmers Journal there’s a headline ‘Farmers centre stage in tackling climate change’ which I feel reflects our style of farming. We practise no-dig [farming] to minimise carbon loss and use deep-rooted crops for sequestration.”

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Teagasc launches farm business options webinar series