For the past 31 years, Roger Perry has been providing a top-quality agricultural contracting service from his base in Athy, County Kildare. We caught up with Roger to get an insight into the history of the business and the range of services offered to farmers’ exact specifications. We also take a look at the impressive fleet of machinery at his disposal.
It would be fair to say that agricultural contracting is in Roger Perry’s blood. The Athy man hails from a strong farming background and has worked with machinery all his life. Reflecting on the genesis of his outstanding, customer-focussed agricultural contracting operation, he notes:
“I started off harvesting sugar beet in 1983, when I bought a tractor and a beet harvester. That was the start of it and I built it up from there.
“I continued doing that and also evolved into muck spreading, ploughing, tillage, silage cutting and cereal harvesting. Today, we offer a full range of services, covering an area within a 30-mile radius of Athy.”
At the heart of any successful agricultural contracting business is a top-class fleet of machinery and Roger Perry has certainly never been found wanting in this department. He operates a fantastic fleet of machinery, including five New Holland tractors, which are sourced from his brother – JR Perry Ltd. on Athy’s Kildare Road, who supplies and services a full range of farm machinery equipment.
“The New Hollands are top quality tractors and we keep them in perfect working order at all times.”
In addition to the tractors, the fleet also comprises three combine harvesters, a forage harvester, butterfly balers and mowers – all from New Holland and also sourced and maintained through JR Perry Ltd. “We also have a JCB loading shovel,” Roger adds.
The Kildare man provides gainful employment to four highly-experienced full-time workers between the months of March and November as well as three casual workers. During the winter months, he has enough work for at least two men.
Generally speaking, Roger is pleased to report that he remains busy pretty much throughout the year: “The muck spreading and ploughing starts in February and we are kept busy with that,” he says. “We’d also be sowing grass seed all year round.”
Over the years, Roger has become extremely well known in the Athy region. His reputation precedes him and this means that he is regularly taking on new customers through positive word of mouth, while he also benefits from a large degree of customer retention.
“I’d have a lot of long-term customers, many of whom have been with me since the very early days of the business,” he confirms. “I’d be picking up new customers as well. Bulk fertiliser spreading is another specialist area and we’d be very well-known locally for that.”
Of course, there is no room for complacency in this line of work and Roger accepts that he needs to keep an eye on the ball at all times. “It’s a tough business at the best of times and it all comes down to how well you manage your business and how you deal with situations and with people. I have learned a lot over the years.
“I give a personal service and everything is based on quality. You can’t be cutting corners or doing things on the cheap. Farmers want quality. We have built up a reputation for doing things right and we always give 100% on every job.”
Does this mean long, long hours are par for the course? “In fairness, we don’t kill ourselves. We get the job done but we don’t overdo it. There’s only so much work you can do in a day – the main thing is that you do it properly. We work flexible hours and we go with the weather. We’d be up early and we’d go at the pace we have to go at.”
Down through the years, Roger has continually invested funds back into the business to ensure that he provides the best service possible. “You have to keep reinvesting because the day you stop putting money back into the business is the day you are in trouble,” he states. “It’s not just in agricultural contracting … any business has to reinvest. We’re no different. Good equipment costs money and you need the best machinery to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
“I’m very lucky to have a really good workforce alongside me here and we also do a lot of our own manufacturing and fabricating, which also helps.
“At the end of the day, I’m only as good as the men I have around me and I have to pay tribute to them. Without them, I’d have nothing. A lot of them have been here for a long time and they are part and parcel of the business. They roll up their sleeves and do great work every day and I’ll do all I can to keep these lads in work.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the unsung heroes of the operation. Our suppliers and hauliers provide a good service and without them we wouldn’t be able to give a good service. Also, all the mechanics and technicians who have come into our yard over the years and have kept me going in times of need … without them we’d be lost.”
Looking to the future, Roger says he will keep the shoulder to the wheel.
“We’ll keep it going,” he concludes. “We provide whatever service the customer wants – exactly as he wants it. We’ll do whatever the farmer wants us to do. We might have a little bit of input into how to proceed with some of the jobs but, generally speaking, farmers know exactly what they want.
“The modern farmer is very business-like and very professional and they set about their businesses in a very professional manner. We are here to offer the exact service he demands. As the saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. We have the machinery, the expertise and the manpower to do everything to the farmer’s precise requirements, so that’s what we will keep on doing.”
It has worked a treat for 31 years already and there’s no reason to suspect that this strict adherence to customer satisfaction won’t remain a winning formula for many more years to come.
Roger Perry Agricultural Contractor
Tel: 059 8626116
Mobile: 087 2572421
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 4, September 2014