Jamie Reape (18) purchased his foundation female – a Simmental-cross – at a Western Simmental Club sale in Ballymote Mart, Co. Sligo three years ago.
“I used the money I earned from my part-time job in Maple Moose in Enniscrone to buy the heifer.” he told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
“After admiring Simmentals at agricultural shows and the Ploughing Championships, I became very interested in the breed.”
“Simmentals are very docile; the females have strong maternal traits and are easy-calved,” he added.
Although Jamie resides near Enniscrone in Co. Sligo, he admits that he spends most of his time in Carra, near Bonniconnellan, with his grandparents - Michael and Mary Reape.
Jamie's ten Simmental cattle share the pastures with grandfather’s commercial suckler herd. He hopes to introduce more pedigrees to the 70-acre farm in the coming months.
Jamie – who is a Leaving Certificate student at Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo - plans to study Agricultural and Environmental Management at Mountbellew Agricultural College/G.M.I.T in September.
“I help out on this farm before and after school every day - I am involved in all aspects of the enterprise.”
“I am at my happiest when I get my holidays from school so I can spend all day tending to my animals.”
“We save turf and fodder and grow most of our own vegetables and fruit, so I am never idle.” he laughed.
The Sligo native said he is very fortunate to have been taught almost all he knows about farming by his grandad. “While grandad continues to farm in a traditional manner, he is very open to my suggestions and ideas,” said Jamie.
“I enjoy sitting with my grandad to discuss the trials and tribulations of the calving season."
"My granny ensures that I complete paperwork which can prove to be a tedious task at times."
During the summer months, Jamie attends various agricultural shows with his grandfather; the duo view all livestock exhibitions and cross paths with like-minded breeders.
The young farming enthusiast said he would not rule out making his debut on the show circuit with his own cattle in the future.
“I always attend the National Ploughing Championships every year; Tullamore Show is becoming my favourite show because of the vast array of animal classes.”
While he has a striking passion for farming, Jamie is also a talented Irish dancer, with several national and international titles under his belt. He completed his formal dancing lessons after he finished third in the World Irish Dancing Championships in 2011.
“My performances on the Late Late Toy Show and TG4 are among my highlights to date.”
The 18-year-old is currently completing his grade exams with a view to becoming an Irish dancing teacher. “I would love to tour with the likes of Riverdance, but I don’t think I could fit in those tours around my farming duties.” he laughed.
With the 2019 crop of calves on the ground, his CAO form filled and the Leaving Certificate around the corner, Jamie is getting ready to embark on the next chapter.
He relishes the idea of carrying on the farming tradition and has his sights firmly set on agricultural science teaching or agricultural consultancy once he completed his four-year course.
“I would advise all young farmers like myself to put on the wellies and get out and enjoy their time on the land.”
“Although farming isn’t always good for the pocket, it is good for the head and that is the most important of all.”
“All the better if you can dance - you can entertain the cows if no one else can!” he concluded.
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