For over half a century, John Dan O’Hare has provided customers in County Down with a top-class agricultural contracting service. We met up with the long-serving Banbridge man to take a look at his impressive fleet and to get an insight into the wide range of services provided.
For some, agricultural contracting is simply in the blood. It’s a vocation, something that comes naturally. John Dan O’Hare was born into contracting and he can’t imagine having done anything else with his life. He’s passionate about the land and takes great pride in his stunning, finely-tuned fleet and the comprehensive range of services provided to customers all over the Mourne County and beyond.
A tremendous investment of personal care and attention to detail goes into every job, allied to an innate understanding of the land and a steely determination to get the job done right – and on time! – every time.
This is why the Banbridge man has developed a vast customer base, many of whom have been with him for over 50 years. It’s also why he is regarded as the premier agricultural contractor in Down and has been for many decades.
With his sons now working alongside him and helping keep this proud family business moving forward impressively, this will no doubt continue to be the case for many years to come.
Not only does John Dan boast more than half a century of experience and a track record that is second to none in the province, he also has at his disposal a superb fleet of tractors and agricultural machinery which he has assembled and maintained painstakingly and meticulously down through the years, always mindful of the fact that a modern fleet would provide key efficiencies and in turn a better service to clients.
Reflecting on the genesis of his business, John D notes: “I’m over 50 years in business and my uncle would have been contracting nearly 25 years before me, from 1938. I started out around 1962 or ’63 with a Massey 35 and a Fordson Power Major.”
There would be no turning back. John Dan was destined for a life in agricultural contracting and he was soon serving a growing number of customers across the beautiful landscape of the magnificent Mourne County, where farming is very much a way of life and a dependable contractor is worth his weight in gold.
From humble beginnings, John D gradually increased and tailored his fleet in keeping with the growing demand for his unrivalled services and today he oversees a hugely-impressive assembly of equipment which comprises in excess of 30 tractors – predominantly John Deere and New Holland – as well as nine combines, five ploughs, five power harrows, four foragers and three drills as well as three hedge cutters, four track machines and four loading shovels.
Needless to say, with such an extensive fleet at his disposal, he provides a full range of agri contracting solutions as well as some civil works, digging and drainage. At the time of writing, John Dan was especially busy with silage and maize cutting but he offers a complete range of services across the various seasons, covering a catchment area that encompasses all of County Down as well as parts of neighbouring County Louth.
The yard on Fernhill Road, Katesbridge has its own modern workshop and all the tractors and machinery are preserved in-house in top working order at all times. Regular, routine checks, servicing and repairs ensure optimum performance from every unit in the fleet, while a programme of continuous reinvestment and refreshment sees to it that John Dan consistently owns and operates the best fleet of agri machinery in the region.
“You have to invest in the fleet,” he says. “You’d renew it a bit every now and then as you see fit. This year I bought two new John Deere tractors, a new Claas combine (the others are New Holland) and a Claas forage harvester. There’s always money to be spent and you have to be prepared to do it if you want to keep offering a top quality service.”
John Dan provides steady employment to a team of 24, some of them have been with him over 35 years. These employees are highly valued. He really appreciates his great work force. A few more additional employees are needed during silage season. “We could have up to 30 lads here between March and October,” he points out.
It’s very much a family business these days and John Dan has four sons working alongside him full time, namely Joe, Brian, Danny and Mark. Meanwhile, sons Dessie, Eamonn and Sean also help out at busy times.
“They are a great help and you couldn’t do it without them,” says an appreciative father. “Someday I’ll hand the reins over and hopefully they’ll keep the business going. It’s hard work but they are interested in it and they’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.”
Looking to the future, John Dan says the goal is to keep the business going strong and to continue to provide his strong customer base with a solid and dependable agricultural contracting service:
“We’ll keep providing the same service and hopefully we’ll keep the business going,” he concludes. “We have a lot of good reliable customers, who have been loyal to us over the years. We have always tried to do things right for them and they look after us too. We’d be lost without them. There are families there who I’ve been working for since I started out and you would have to have a lot of respect for those people. We value all of our customers.”
Judging by how long John Dan O’Hare has been providing his excellent agricultural contracting services, his customers clearly appreciate him too!
John Dan O’Hare
38 Fernhill Road,
Tel: 028 40630033
Mobile: 007715 609392
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 7, December 2014