James hails from Newtownbutler in Co. Fermanagh, just on the Cavan/Monaghan border.
Here he helps his father run Mohan Farm services, a contracting firm on the go for over twenty years. James has a strong farming background and raises cattle, pigs and sheep. He has approximately 120 cattle at the moment, 25 to 30 of which are purebred Herefords and Shorthorn, while the rest are commercial.
He is also a contract grower for a firm up in Tyrone, for whom he raises pigs. He currently has 1280 pigs on site at the moment, while he also dabbles in sheep.
“My daughter, she’s 17, she has about forty ewes...with lambing to start Christmas day. “ said James.
He first got into contracting at the age of 17, when he joined the company founded by his father and a neighbour. Back in 2007 he took over the operations and from there the business has grown. At the start, they only offered round baling services, while now the team offer slurry and dung spreading, baling, hedge cutters, digging services. They don’t though, offer silage pit services anymore, instead preferring to stick to the round bales.
“There were only two tractors at that time(the start), now I have six” said James.
Like most contractors, James has a deep passion for machinery. His outfit, unconventionally, run with just Same and Lamborghini tractors, which he swears by. His beloved machines include: Lamborghini R6165, Same Iron 150, Same silver 130, Same 106, Lamborghini 135 and a Same explorer 90.
James and the team also have a JCB 53170 Telehandler, while he also has a JCB JS130 digger. He runs with a krone mower, Krone rake, Krone tedder and Krone baler, while he runs with a McHale wrapper. He made the transition to Krone and says he hasn’t looked back.
“I used to be all Vicon and they just gave me that much trouble. A local dealer moved to Krone and I moved with him. They just used to break my heart. I left all and went to Krone and it was a great move. “ he said,
“One krone baler would do what two Vicon balers would do in the same day” he added.
“I won’t have anything else in the yard.” said James of his Same/Lamborghini combination.
Team and the future:
The team now consists himself and two other full-time staff, while they also hire two part-time men when needed.
When asked about the future, James said all plans were put on hold, due to the terrible year experienced this year.
“I had a few ideas, but this summer has took the shine of it” said James.
“With the bad year's work we had. I had the idea to upgrade a few models, but the shine was taken off that with a loss of work” he said.
Like most contractors, weather is the main problem facing the firm.
“Weather is the biggest problem. Sometimes, a few years back when I had a silage outfit, we could not get good drivers.” he said.
“Just couldn’t get good reliable drivers” he added.
The other biggest problem he says is competition. There is, according to James 15 round baler firms in operation in this one small area. This he says has taken a bit off the business he says. Another challenge, James says, facing not only contractors in the area but farmers too, is getting stuck.
“Getting stuck is a regular thing in Fermanagh here. If you don’t get stuck at least twice a year there’s something gone wrong” he laughed.
“Usually it’s that bad, we have to go get the digger and pull ourselves out” he added.
Why he loves what he does:
“It was probably for the love of tractors. From when I could walk it was tractors, tractors, tractors.” said James
“My own boy is the same. It must be in the blood” he added.
He said he is sure either his farming daughter, or son, will follow his lead and end up working in agriculture. James and the team place a strong emphasis on customer relations. He values their opinion more than most and likes them being able to trust that he will carry out a job, meeting expectations, without the customer having to worry or check in with him.
James is also a man who sticks to his word. He finds this a vital aspect of the business, that customers can trust his word and believe him when he says he will be there, when he says he will.
“If I tell them I’m coming that day, I will be there that day...You have to run a very tight schedule” he insisted.
“Keep the farmer on your side” he added.
James and Co have been in operation for a relatively short period of twenty years. A second generation contractor, with children already eyeing up a future in the business. A man not only dedicated to the industry, but also to his family and loyal customers.
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