Ballalaa Farm near Niarbyl on the Isle of Man’s picturesque west coast has been farmed by the Clague family for more than 30 years.
A passion for farming, and a commitment to producing the best quality livestock using the highest animal welfare standards, is in their blood. Today, the family tradition is continued by Jack and Vanda Clague who have two grown up children, Allan and Sammy.
Allan and his wife Ellie (a teaching assistant) both work on the farm and are helped by their three young daughters. Allan also runs a fencing contracting business, while his sister Sammy lives on the farm and works as a hairdresser and make-up artist.
Ballalaa has a flock of 780 Blackface ewes, 60 suckler cows, and fields of barley and green crops which are grown as part of a strategy for the farm to be as self-sufficient as possible. The family’s commitment to quality is demonstrated by successes at the prestigious Royal Manx Agricultural Show, the highlight of the Isle of Man’s farming calendar. Last year Ballalaa won section champion, earning them a place in the supreme championship final with a Blackface shearling ram, and over the years many rosettes and cups have been won in the long wool sheep classes. In addition, Ballalaa cattle have won prizes at the annual prime stock show.
Like all farmers the Clagues work hard throughout the year, year in year out, but the satisfaction of a job well done makes it all worthwhile. “It’s hard to pick our favourite part of farming,” says Jack, “because every part of the job comes with a great sense of satisfaction. As a family we love springtime on the farm with all the new lambs and calves.” That’s a particularly exciting time for the youngest members of the family who love to help out on the farm, and the summertime and agricultural shows also create special memories. Replacing the energy burnt up by working long hours in all weathers is another fun part of farming life for the Clagues, and of course they enjoy tucking into delicious Manx produce, especially home-made beef burgers.
From pasture to plate, it’s all about quality for the Clagues who are part of our network of 220 fantastic Manx farms and farmers that share the same values.