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Brian Howard

Guidance Counsellor

Department of Education and Skills

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  Brian Howard

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Career Profile: Dairy Farm Owner

Andrew Cronin is from Crookstown, Co. Cork. he is currently share farming with Pat and Mary Smyth in Mallow, Co. Cork. His other interests include hurling. 

Farm details

Area: 200 ha
Labour: 2.5 labour units
Herd: 400 Spring calving cows

Career path
  • Level 6 Higher Certificate in Agriculture, Cork Institute of Technology and Teagasc Clonakilty (2 years - including placement on the ‘Greenfield farm’ in Kilkenny)
  • Farm manager in Cork (2 years)
  • Farming in collaboration for 3 years

Andrew is originally from a 90 cow dairy farm. He is in his third year farming in collaboration with the Pat and Mary Smyth (which has now progressed to share farming) in Mallow having started in 2013 when the Smyth’s converted from tillage to dairy. Andrew owns 200 of the 400 milking cows on the farm. Andrew’s parents encouraged him to try and find a farming venture away from home as they felt there were limited opportunities for him in Crookstown.

Current role

In this share farming arrangement the Smyth’s provide all the land and buildings needed to milk the cows. Andrew manages the farm and supplies all labour. The milk cheque is split between the two parties as are the majority of costs. While Andrew consults with the Smyth’s on how the farm is managed, he is ultimately responsible for implementing the business plan. He manages the cash flow for his share of the business.


Work experience has been important for Andrew. He has learned a lot from his home farm, the Greenfield farm where he did his work placement and on an excellent large scale dairy farm where he was manager for two years. He has also learned a lot about farm development from Pat Smyth who has converted the existing farm in Mallow from tillage to dairy. His advice to people is work on the best farms you can and learn as much from these people as possible.

Future career goals

Andrew’s objective is to maximise the profit from his existing venture for both himself and the Smyth’s. Long term he would like to keep growing his business and potentially work with other farm owners in the future. His aim is to develop a business that is profitable enough to allow him purchase an 80 hectare or bigger farm in the future.

Article by: Teagasc