Enterprise nothing to snort at
IN THIS harsh economic climate, setting up and sustaining a business is no easy task.
However, two local teens from the FCJ School Bunclody, Patrick McInerney (16) and his brother Hugh (13), have taken it in their stride.
They have set up a business called Carrigslaney Pigs, which deals in the rearing and selling of rare breed ( Gioucester) pigs sourced from Cork and Armagh.
They started the business back in December 2008 when the boys were just 14 and 11 respectively, and they have been rearing pigs ever since.
Along with the sale of pigs, they also produce a regular supply of hams, bacon and sausages which they sell to family members and to the local community.
In a recent interview with Patrick, he explained that the idea originated from an article in the Country Life Magazine about a similar business in England.
Seeing a gap in the Irish market for free range pork, they seized the opportunity to go into business.
Using money that Patrick had received from trading in a few cattle, and with the bulk of their Communion and Confirmation money invested also, they traveled to Cork and bought three pigs, which would become the foundation stock for the herd.
It's certainly not easy money for the lads, though.
' The work is fairly physical,' said Patrick. ' We have to carry a lot of buckets and bales.'
The pigs themselves are known to cause a bit of trouble as well.
'When we wean the bonham from the sows, there is a lot of running and diving to catch the bonham.'
He goes on to say that the sows can get quite aggressive at this point, resulting in a lot of work for the two young teenagers. When asked if he ever becomes emotionally attached to his pigs, he says that he looks into the field and sees 'a nice pair of hams, not a pair of eyes'.
Though Patrick and Hugh believe that at present the profit margins are higher on the meat selling side of the business, the bulk of Carrigslaney Pigs income currently comes from the selling of young bonhams.
When asked about figures, Patrick said that although the common belief is that both he and Hugh are making a lot of money from the business, they pay about €10,000 in feed merchants alone annually.
Although the business is successful, they're not into the big leagues yet.
'It's still a nice bit of pocket money,' he said.
The future looks bright for these young entrepreneurs. In the coming year, they plan to establish a delivery system to deliver their produce to potential customers across the country.
Top quality meat like their own is lacking in our country, and they feel that they can address this problem by expanding to markets around the country.
With this, their business is sure to continue to go from strength to strength in the coming years.