The Ward family have farmed the land at Clonee for generations since 1845. They initially leased the land and purchased it in 1901. Michael Ward discusses the acreage at the family farm and explains that his grandfather bought another farm in 1985 in Kilcloone, also in Co. Meath. Michael’s father, Joe Ward, inherited and he was a more progressive father than was his own father, his son explains. The great changes which had taken place in farming practices between those two generations are explained. The introduction of compulsive tillage during the Emergency period led to the change from a concentration on cattle farming to the growing of grain and other crops. Michael discusses the decisions made by Éamon de Valera during his time in government and expresses his negative conclusions about those decisions.
From a very young age, Michael was aware that he would one day be involved in the running of the farms, and he was mentored by his father during his early days. As a young man he bought a combine harvester, which he says was the instigator of so much change in farming practice, and he and his brother would work on contract for other farming families in the area. When Ireland joined the Common Market in 1973, more intensive farming became the norm.
Sporting activities, especially greyhounds, were a passion for Michael, and he explains that he and his father were members of the Ward Union Hunt and the Meath Hounds.