David Prendergast is a serial entrepreneur from Tourmakeady, Co Mayo. He’s the company director of Iomlán Animal Science and owner of web shop sheepproducts.ie. The new year will see him add another shop into the mix.

David also farms 150 Blackface sheep and some suckler cows back home on the family farm part time.

New direction

Leaving school, this particular career choice was not exactly what he had in mind when he studied engineering in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), but after a few years working as a junior engineer he began to feel like he needed a new direction.

“At the time the boom was in construction, and we felt, at home, there wouldn’t be enough out of farming alone, even though that’s where I would have liked to put all my interest,” David says.

“There is still a part of me that would like to be a full-time farmer,” he adds.

David with his friend and business partner, Tom Staunton.

As his friends began to leave the country for work in America and Australia, David didn’t see that as an option. He was in a relationship with his now wife, Deirdre, so was looking for another opportunity that would keep him in Ireland.

Iomlán Animal Science

In 2014, along with his business partner and friend Tom Staunton, David set up Iomlán Animal Science, iomlán being the Irish word for “total”.

“We took the plunge and set up our own company,” he says. “It was all designed around hygiene on farms, and vitamins and minerals – we sell everything but antibiotics to farms.”

Tom had graduated from University College Dublin and David knew him from playing Gaelic football. At the time they felt the attitude in Ireland was that antibiotics were the fix for everything. But they had been watching what was happening in Europe, where antibiotics were becoming less freely available, and wanted to get ahead of that curve.

It was very hard at the start because neither of us had any big investment money to put into the company

“We looked at a lot of companies in Belgium, Holland and Germany,” he says. “We are also dealing with a company in New Zealand that gets around antibiotic use by using different products.

“It was very hard at the start because neither of us had any big investment money to put into the company – we had a bank loan.”

Early struggles

They put in the research in Europe to make sure they were getting the best products for their new venture, but they weren’t always met with encouraging tones.

It was a big financial struggle

“Some companies over there looked down on us, but luckily enough one or two said, ‘These guys look like they know what they are doing,’ and they trusted us,” he explains. “And we trusted them – eight years later we are still dealing with the companies we initially set up with.”

“It was a big financial struggle, though, in the meantime,” he says. “The year we set up the company was the year we got married. There were some weeks we weren’t even taking wages – thankfully we turned the corner fairly quickly.”


The company was an agent-based model, working with independent agents who could make their own hours and days. While this worked for a while, it soon became less than ideal; particularly in the economic climate at that time. Something had to give.

“We just said look, this is not 100% reliable even though we still have agents working with us to this day,” David says. “We thought there was a big gap in the market for sheepporducts.ie because we both come from big sheep farms here in the west of Ireland.”

Investing in sheep

“There are a lot of websites that have cattle and sheep products or dairy, sheep and beef products, there was no company online that just specifically dealt with sheep and sheep alone. We have a one-stop shop for everything you want for sheep.”

The web shop was a slow burner initially, with only a handful of weekly sales, but things soon began to pick up once they built up a customer base.

“Once people got used to buying from us – and we are selling at what we think are good rates – we had an awful lot of repeat custom,” he says.

“We ship a lot out to the likes of Germany, Holland and Hungary. Every week we have a couple of orders going outside the country – it’s become such a small world, all of a sudden.”

Next moves

The next move in the empire David and Tom are building is the launch of their newest web shop. Cattleproducts.ie will work on the same premise as the sheep site; it’s going to be a one stop shop for all cattle needs.

It’s due to launch on 1 January – the pair thought better of adding more stress to their lives just before Christmas.

David enjoys farming and says he still has dreams of being a full-time farmer. In the meantime, he enjoys his work life balance and spending time with his family.

David still harbours notions of becoming a full-time farmer, if any acquisitions come their way, but for now the work life balance is pretty good – now that he is off the road, that is.

“I’m home every evening at around half past five and I have the whole evening with my family – my way of thinking is there is more to life than driving around the countryside,” he says.

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