Galway Snail Farmer wins Irish NEWBIE Farm Entrant Competition
Steven Ryan from Tuam, County Galway has been selected as the winner of the 2019 NEWBIE new farm entrant competition. Steven diversified the farm business in 2014, setting up a snail farm alongside the family’s beef and sheep farm. The farm is now producing 4,000kg of snails for the export market annually.
Speaking after the award, Steven Ryan was keen to highlight the potential of snail farming as another income stream on farms providing “a good income from a small piece of ground”. There is also flexibility to work around busy periods such as calving, lambing, harvest etc. Steven feels that snail farming in Ireland has great potential and is heavily involved in plans to develop a processing facility in Ireland giving farmers a home market for their product. “We started out using Google and YouTube for information and through trial and error developed a system that suits the Irish climate.”
John Moriarty NEWBIE project advisor with Teagasc said; “those considering entering agriculture or diversifying their business can learn a huge amount from Steven’s story. Steven has identified an enterprise that complimented the existing enterprises while maintaining a quality work-life balance”
Steven’s snail enterprise has allowed him to overcome a number of barriers commonly faced by new entrants; access to information, access to land, access to finance and access to markets. Access to information was the biggest issue faced at the beginning and a huge amount of research was required to establish the enterprise, as all processing needs to take place outside Ireland identifying and building relationships with processors across Europe was necessary to achieve the best price. Further details on the business can be found at his website www.exclusiveescargot.com.