Farm Diversification

Note that funding is fully allocated under this measure at present – please get in touch to discuss opportunities under the forthcoming programme. 

 

DIVERSIFICATION INTO NON-AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES

This diversification measure aims to create alternative on-farm employment and business opportunities in non-agricultural activities and services.

Projects are considered for funding which increase the percentage of viable on-farm alternative enterprises by assisting local farmers and farm families to create on-farm employment opportunities in non-agricultural activities.

The following examples are a guide only:-

  • Development of agri-tourism facilities/centres including outdoor leisure/adventure pursuits and rural recreation.
  • Renovation of farm buildings for tourism purposes e.g.a farm museum.
  • Renewable energy initiatives that address farm waste management and promote a better environment.
  • Speciality food provision and small food producers.
  • Farm shops with home/locally grown products

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Sample Project

Coolanowle is a family run business operated out of Coolanowle Farm in Ballickmoyler Co Laois. The Mulhall Family have been producing beef on the farm at Coolanowle for generations and the current owner, Jimmy Mulhall, has always had the goal of selling his product directly to customers and of providing work on farm for his family.

Having spotted that the organic sector offered a potential niche for farmers to add value to their produce, Jimmy set about diversifying his business back in 2001. He started by converting the then conventional dairy/beef and sheep farm to organic status and approached Laois LEADER (now Laois Partnership) for advice and financial help. Laois LEADER saw the potential in Jimmy’s business plan and helped him to purchase a custom built mobile unit. This vehicle enabled him to process and produce a limited range of products to sell at farmers’ markets in Portlaoise, Carlow, Kilkenny and Ranelagh amongst others.

Jimmy and his son Eddie then embarked on additional training in butchery and acquired the skills necessary to produce a wider range of products,  including homemade sausages, dry-cured bacon and ham, dry cured corned and spiced beef. They also established an organic pig unit based on the Saddleback and Gloucester Old Spot traditional breeds. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s wife Bernadine also set about developing a successful B&B and on-farm self-catering business which also tapped into the developing Coolanowle brand.

More recently, Jimmy and his family has developed the business model further. In 2009 Jimmy successfully applied to Laois Partnership for help to develop a meat processing room on the farm. With the new facility Jim is able to butcher greater volumes of his beef, lamb and pork on farm and also develop and increasingly wider range of products.

Jimmy and his family are continually innovating and developing the business and the latest addition to the wider farm enterprise is a farm shop which opened in September 2010. The farm shop is, in many ways, the final piece in the jigsaw and Coolanowle Organics is now able to offer quality assurance through all stages of the life cycle of their products; literally from farm to fork.

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