As part of this week Agricultural Entrepreneur of the Week Segment, It’s farming profiles Oisin Ryan Farm Services. The agricultural entrepreneur from Tipperary talks about starting his own business, saving money to buy machinery, coming from a non-farm background, industry challenges and business plans.
At the age of seventeen, Oisin Ryan sold a colt for €1,500 and in May 2022 invested in a 6ft Fleming topper from that sale and set up Oisin Ryan Farm Services.
Prior to this, the fifth year pupil of Christian Brothers Secondary School (CBS) Mitchelstown, Co. Cork in Clogheen, County Tipperary, borrowed his father’s 1974 Ford 7740 four-cylinder tractor from January 2022 and used to rent machines to farmers.
Oisin invested €2,000 in the tractor and oversaw the diesel, tires and repair expenses, while his father, Philip, paid the rest.
After getting his tractor license last fall, he started hauling grain for a farmer, where he has worked since April 2021.
Oisin grew up on a smallholding with his family owning 3 acres for the horses and renting an additional 8 acres which they use for haymaking.
“My parents helped me a lot because I didn’t really come from an agricultural background. My neighbors and the farmer I work for taught me everything I know about tractors and machinery,” said Oisin Ryan. It’s farming.
“I have loved machines since I was very young. I saw all the agricultural contractors going around, and they were always busy. It looked like a pleasant and very fun job.
In the future, Oisin hopes to seek employment in the agricultural sector in farm management or consulting, alongside managing his farm contractor.
Agricultural Contractor Tipperary
The commercial contracts he cannot complete with his father, the company serving Clogheen, Cahir, Ballybreen, Newcastle, Ardfinnan, Lismore and Cappoquin.
Oisin Ryan Farm Services offers topping, farm yard tidying and dump trailer work, including picking up sand, gravel and rocks and delivering mushroom compost to a gardening.
Oisin set out this year to cover 10 acres for clients and 20 acres for his father.
He classifies his business as “very small” with a defoliator and a tractor, while he rents out other machines.
In the future, he hopes to buy a dump trailer, pressure washer and hedge trimmer and do other jobs of this nature.
The student said building a customer base can be “difficult,” but digital media and word of mouth are part of his current advertising methods.
“I like to go to a farm and do a neat job and have happy customers with a job.”
“I do any job to the same standards as I would a job for my dad or the farmer I work for, that’s the best I can. Also, I wouldn’t do anything that I wasn’t capable of to the best of my ability.
According to Oisin, customer retention is “very important” and he hopes customers come back every year to book his services.
Moloney Mechanics, who lives near his yard, services tractors and machinery.
“We carry out the simplest mechanical work ourselves. We wouldn’t have as much mechanical knowledge as him, and we don’t want to be wrong either.
“For example, if I was a bigger company and had more tractors, and had more work in the pipeline, I would have to have my own mechanic and learn more mechanical skills.”
Challenges affecting the business include diesel prices, machine costs and labor availability.
“For example, last year we filled the tractor for maybe €80 and this year it was between €100 and €120.”
“The war in Ukraine didn’t impact my business, but I bought a mirror holder for the tractor, and it was the last one in stock. I feel like the parts for the old machines are increasingly difficult to obtain.
In Oisin’s view, the key elements of running a successful agricultural contracting business include “being able to advertise well, the ability to get enough work to continue, and having good people to guide you.
“In my opinion, to get started in agricultural subcontracting, you need a lot of work.
“I believe over time agricultural contracts will become more difficult if diesel prices continue to rise and things like that. If diesel and machinery prices continue to rise, it will make things more difficult.
He shared his experience regarding employment opportunities in the sector for young people who want to start their own agricultural contracting business.
“In my opinion, it is quite difficult to get into agricultural contracting. However, there would be many agricultural entrepreneurs who have a very good reputation. »
“They would be very well established and have a lot of machines doing different jobs.”
“I do jobs that would be too small for large agricultural contractors or that they would be too busy to do.”
Oisin cannot yet say the business is viable, as there is not enough work available to work full time.
He said it’s “a hobby as is, and I will invest funds from his work in building the business.”
He is toying with the idea of adding a septic tank emptying service to his range of offers.
“We had a problem recently with septic tanks, and other people might have the same problem, and it might be a niche market.”
“I thank my father and all the neighbors who help me, as well as the farmer for whom I work”, concluded the agricultural entrepreneur.
To share your story like this agricultural entrepreneur from Tipperary, email Catherina Cunnane, editor of It’s farming – [email protected]
See more agricultural contractor profiles.