Share Farming, a Young Farmers experience

Share Farming, a Young Farmers Experience

Christopher Cahill operates a 270- acre dairy farm outside Delvin Co. Westmeath under a share farm agreement. He is currently milking 180 cows with the aim to expand the operation to 240 cows. Christopher did not grow up on a farm, the interest in farming came from helping on his uncle’s dairy farm. He studied Agriculture in UCD and has worked on farms and in the agri industry.

Always wanting to go farming himself he put his interest on the Land Mobility data base. He initially looked at leasing opportunities. Two challenges emerged firstly smaller units lacked the scale to be a sustainable standalone lease operation whereas the bigger units required more finance in terms of working capital, cows and infrastructure spend than he could afford.
Christopher helped by the Service decided to seriously look at share farming opportunities, the scale was there and the financial step was much more realistic. The key for him was finding a farm with potential and a compatible landowner.

The Service kept him up to date with possible opportunities within his locality. The Service also helped Christopher in the initial steps, helping in drawing up farm plans including financial and labour elements. The facilitation process also helped build trust between him and the landowner. Christopher has thrived as a share farmer making a good return for himself and at the same time progressing the farm with improvements to grassland infrastructure including multispecies swards, paddock and water system improvements and extra roadways. Christopher has improved the farms biodiversity and reduced chemical fertiliser usage.