IFA President Joe Healy today congratulated Cavan poultry farmer, Margaret Farrelly on her prestigious Innovation Award for Women Farmers. Margaret, who runs Clonarn Clover Free Range Eggs, was nominated for the award by the IFA.
“Margaret should be as an inspiration to all farmers, and I am delighted to see her innovation and enterprise celebrated on an international stage. The contribution women make to agriculture is not always fully recognised, but more than other enterprise, farming is a whole family affair that takes hard work and a combined effort to succeed. Margaret’s story is an illustration of this; she and her husband established the poultry enterprise in 1988 and three of her children are now employed in the family business,” said Mr Healy.
“The contribution women make to agriculture is not always fully recognised, but more than other enterprise, farming is a whole family affair that takes hard work and a combined effort to succeed. Margaret’s story is an illustration of this; she and her husband established the poultry enterprise in 1988 and three of her children are now employed in the family business.”
“Women are the back-bone of rural areas, and play an innovative role particularly in on-farm diversification and agri-toursim, on top of the farm’s production role. The role of women in agriculture has been traditionally understated due to the predominance of male farm owners, but in fact women farmers account for approximately a quarter of the regular agricultural workforce.”
“Innovation will become all the more crucial for rural areas in the years to come and we need to ensure an enabling environment for successful women entrepreneurship is developed to ensure farm businesses can capitalise and prosper. The perception of farming as a male-only career is well outdated; the role of women in farming must be fully acknowledged and their views should be given equal weight in policy development,” he concluded.
Margaret Farrelly and her husband Leo began producing and packing free range eggs to supplement their farm income in 1988 with just 150 hens. Since then, identifying and adapting to changing consumer trends, Margaret has innovated and sustainably expanded the business to 9,000 laying hens on her own farm, plus 22 local satellite producers, bringing the total number to 160,000 hens producing eggs at any one time. As well as working with the 22 farmers on satellite farms, the company employs 33 full and part-time staff.
The company’s innovations recognised include:
- A designer egg, enriched with omega 3, organic selenium and vitamin E - the first of its kind in Europe and one of only five worldwide.
- The first to introduce white eggs to the Irish market in response to changing demographics.
- Launch of national brand O’Egg and the introduction of the first coloured packaging to distinguish the brand in the market. 5c from each pack of O’Egg sold goes to charity.
- The company’s latest innovation is pasteurised liquid eggs in retail unit sizes - a solution which not only meets current consumer trends within the fitness and convenience markets, but makes use of surplus eggs providing added sustainability to the business.