It is not every day that a 23-year-old claims top spot with a total of ten championship titles and twenty-five first prizes from a sole commercial heifer. That is one heck of a way to round off show scene 2016.
If boasting such an achievement isn’t enough, imagine taking home the most prestigious prize in the history of commercial beef championships, the AIB National Livestock Show Commercial Cattle Senior Championship title at the age of twenty-two with a heifer that you purchased as a weanling.
Well, that is the case for Moate, Co. Westmeath based Michael Martin, an admirable fourth-generation farmer.
The immense success which has really put Michael’s herd on the map has been brought about by the exceptional ‘Chancey Lady’ a commercial heifer boasting strings of championship titles under her belt.
The Limousin X Belgian Blue ET, Ampertaine Foreman daughter will celebrate her second birthday at the end of this month and has achieved what could be deemed as a lifetime of success, in such a short period of time. She was purchased as a weanling from a highly renowned commercial herd and Michael has brought her right to the top.
‘She’s been a real winner for me so far. She’s just after being flushed and won’t be leaving Moate anytime soon. Chancey Lady is in her forever home. She’ll die with me I’m afraid. I hope she will breed more champions, who knows’. Michael explained.
The show topper is only one of several commercial cattle that young Mr. Martin has taken to the show ring, all of which have become household names, with another heifer ‘Lucy’ with CF52 and BYU bloodlines proving to be making her mark also, by fetching champion ribbons at Tullamore National Livestock Show.
‘It takes quite a while from the time you breed them or buy them to the time you show them, but it is all worth it at the end of the day. From feeding to foot-trimming to general husbandry, it’s time-consuming and requires effort, but it’s worth it. At least it has been for me. Nothing beats winning with a heifer that you turn out yourself for a show!’ Michael said to That’s Farming.
Only in his early twenties, Michael has a rather phenomenal story to tell and has built up quite a reputation for himself, with his success in the show scene circles only accounting for a fraction.
From a tender age, Michael knew that a career in Agriculture was his calling.
The young farming enthusiast currently is in a farm-partnership with his grand-father Andy McLoughlin and is operating a rather remarkable Agricultural enterprise.
Ranging from a beef drystock and sheep unit to a sucker herd and selling over two-hundred and fifty calves a week through a livestock trading company with his uncle, Michael is no stranger to a busy schedule and there is most certainly no turning back the clock now.
When Michael is not pre-occupied with his other commitments, he finds himself filling the shoes as a Junior Procurement Manager with Liffey Meats LTD, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan.
Graduating with a Level 8 degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in 2016 opened up this opportunity and simultaneously provided him with a Green-Cert qualification.
While the Westmeath farmer has been lucky in terms of establishing his farm with the valuable support of his grandfather, he notes that access to land, financial aid and availability of grants are just three of several roadblocks that can be encountered.
‘I’ve been lucky so far, unlike some. I’m not renting land at the moment. When the time comes for me to expand and purchase land it may be a challenge. Where I am based, there is no access to land. It’s just not there.’ Michael said.
Despite this, Michael applied to the National Reserve in 2016 and he is still waiting for the finalisation of his application, which was delayed as a result of several issues.
‘Farming is challenging there is no doubt. Part-time seems to be an option for many. The world population is growing and we are always going to need farmers. Profit margins are tight and unfortunately, there are numerous things going against farmers at the moment. It’s all down to money at the end of the day, if we are going, to be honest about it.’ He added.
Despite the fact the Westmeath based twenty-two year- old has celebrated superb milestones ever since emerging into the farming world, he doesn’t plan on stopping in his tracks just yet, with endless ideas circulating in the pipeline.
‘I’d like to expand the drystock aspect of the farm, anything up to turning out two-hundred cattle, with my show cattle on the side of that. I am really happy in my current role, where I am gaining invaluable experience. So we will see what will happen! ’ Michael concluded.