Agriculture is one of the toughest and most diverse sectors of the economy to work in - but in Kilkenny; we do it with aplomb.
The margins in the industry are small - whether you’re doing a post harvest financial appraisal or you’re getting your monthly text from Glanbia on the milk prices as you watch the lorry come down the lane.
You’re watching the weather morning, noon and night to see what you can get done today and over the rest of the week - if it’s an adverse forecast it might even mean working late into the night.
Kilkenny’s farmers keep the county and country going in every sense. They put the milk, bread and almost everything in between in some way on to the supermarket shelves and for the most part; they spend their incomes locally as well - keeping many rural towns and villages going.
The agri-sector is going toe to toe with tourism in Kilkenny in terms of importance to the local economy. We’ve had one of the biggest agricultural companies in the world, Glanbia, put its faith in this county and its workforce with hundreds employed in all corners of the county. The company is crucial to Kilkenny’s vibrancy.
At the Iverk Show earlier this year - another proud feather in Kilkenny’s agricultural cap - we heard that in Piltown; there are 80 milk suppliers supplying 34 million litres of milk worth over €10 million to the local economy.
That’s the significance and quality of agriculture in Kilkenny and we don’t stop at conventional farms. Two Fellas Farm in Graignamanagh have set up a snail farm in the county and will export up to 6 tonnes of escargots this year. Then there’s Goastbridge, a local pâté supplier from Kilkenny which boasts its own trout farm.
Just this month, Kilkenny farmers showcased their talents at the Ploughing Championships in Offaly. This week, we’ve the launch of the Savour Festival and it will showcase the produce and foods available here and will further add to Kilkenny’s farming fame.
Such is the extent with which the agri-sector is the bedrock of life here in both urban and rural areas - Kilkenny’s agri-pedigree is worthy of it being known as the Farming County.