Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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HomeBeef‘My sister plays a key role in our ag contracting business’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘My sister plays a key role in our ag contracting business’

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Andy North.  

“I reside in Drayton Parslow – Milton Keynes, where I run Kingsland Farm as a fourth-generation farmer.

I remember when the cows got out, my job was to wave a stick and not let the cows get past me, and I remember that stick being so heavy I could not even lift it.

Also, I remember when we kept pigs, and I really wanted to keep this one pig, and my dad told my sisters and I that we could keep it if we could teach it to sit.

We were out there for days trying to teach this pig to sit, and we never managed it. I do not think my dad was ever worried – he was going to have to keep the pig, and it was all just a good laugh for him to watch us out there every day.

B (2)

Kingsland Farm

Running Kingsland Farm is a family effort between my dad, my sister, my cousin and I.

We have a horse livery yard, specialise in haymaking, straw making, haylage, contracting, caravans and storage.

Firstly, North Agri covers Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire with a New Holland T6 and JCB Loader 530-70.

Services include muck heap removal, hedge cutting, paddock maintenance, harrowing, topping, rolling, fencing, welding, servicing of tractors and other machinery work.

I also hire myself out to drive tractors during harvest for corn carts and have years of experience in baling, wrapping, tedding, rowing up, and anything else involved in hay, haylage and straw harvest, so I am happy to hire my services out to help other farms with this if they need.

I have since been hiring my services to drive tractors throughout harvest, including corn carts, bailing, mowing, tedding, and wrapping anything involved with hay, haylage and straw harvest.

Ag contracting

I am the founder and owner of North Agri alongside my sister. I am all for women in agricultural contracting; it is between my sister and I that we run an agricultural contracting business – North Agri – and she plays an integral role in the management of the company.

Honestly, I would like to see more women become involved in agriculture in the future.

I have been interested in tractors; since I was little, I have wanted to drive tractors.

I had a tractor with a front loader when I was younger, and I spent most of my time washing it. And I think I first learnt to reverse a trailer on my little pedal tractor.

Overall, I like going to new places and meeting new customers. Moreover, I like how every job is different, and I get to build my experience with every job I do.

Farming can be physically demanding, but I think at times, I find working and living so closely with family can have its challenges more than any of the physical labours of agricultural contracting.

In the future, I hope to expand my fleet and hopefully purchase a muck spreader so that I can start offering muck spreading as a service.

Also, I would hope to purchase a bigger tractor in the future as well so that I will be able to offer more services.

As well as that, I am looking to get a low-loader in the near future so that I am able to load up my kit and do multiple jobs in one location without having to make multiple trips to a client.

Fotojet 2022 11 09t171536.964

Future plans

On the farm at home, we are looking to build 19 more stables and expand the livery yard business we have under Kingsland Farm livery.

Also, we are looking to purchase equipment such as a horse walker to really help upmarket the livery yard in comparison to other yards around us.

In terms of the contracting business, we will be focusing mainly on building up a good reputation and client base and just building up the business in general and getting it more well-known.

My advice to readers is that: go to college and study an agricultural course. I never did, and I regret it, but I was lucky that I had a family farm to go into.

For people with no family connections to farming, studying agriculture can be really helpful. Also, getting involved in their local young farmers can help build connections and may help with getting work.

Reflection 

My goal is to build up a really healthy business both on the farm with the livery business and the contracting so that, hopefully, my children will be able to work for the companies and, hopefully, one day take over from me. I really hope to keep farming in the bloodlines.

The contracting business is still new in comparison to the established livery yard business; so far, my journey has been me establishing what services I am currently able to offer with the equipment I have.

I then created an Instagram and Facebook page and have been trying to market myself.

For years our farm has run as a successful livery yard and agricultural business.

I have participated in hay, straw and haylage harvests every year but have moved away from harvesting my own farm and leave that to my cousin and his own business G North and sons, so that I can focus on running Kingsland Farm Livery and really pour my energy into North Agri and getting out and about to do as much contracting work as I can.”

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