Ask me your
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
I grew up on the family farm in south Kilkenny and from an early age I was always interested in what was going on and being in contact with the livestock. The farm was in dairying at the time and it was that end of the farm I was interested in the most, so from an early age I knew I wanted to work with milking stock.
In secondary school I chose subjects that I was most interested in and thought would be most useful as a dairy farmer, Agricultural Science so I would understand the details of how a farm worked, Building Construction as farmers are always building and developing their farms for the future, Technical Drawing so I could plan out future developments.
Looking back I now know I should have also done Business Studies, as cash flow budgets and planning is what I spend at least half my time in the office at.
After the Leaving Cert I went to Kildalton Agriculture Collage and did the Certificate in Farming and Agriculture. Following that I was lucky enough to win the Teagasc 'Student of the Year' which put me in contact with some very good people that helped to shape my farming system.
Shortly after Kildalton when working on the home farm my father allowed me to take over the management of the farm and I started to focus on the dairy herd. In 2003 I travelled to New Zealand on a study trip and that is when I had my eyes opened to what dairy farming can truly be when done right.
The following year I was then asked to join the Kildalton discussion group which is a group of some of the best dairy farmers in the south east. It is through working with this group that have pushed me to where I am to day.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
The people that have had the biggest influence on my career would have to be my parents as they gave me the interest and gateway in to farming. There has been many other people that have helped to develop me into the focused farmer I am today. The members of my discussion group would have played an important role along with Macra na Feirme which have widened my outlook and my group of friends.
How did you go about getting your current job?
Describe a typical day?
The day starts at 6am when I get up - the first job is going for the cows and doing the morning milking. Then I generally set up the work for the day.
The good thing about farming is that every day is different, this allows me to be my own boss and work to my own scheduele. Mornings are usually for checking stock and afternoons are generally for other farm work needed. I try to start the evening milking at 4pm so I can finish up the days work in the early evening.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
The main jobs are to make sure the farm is profitable, fuctioning and everything runs smoothly. It requires good stock management to make sure that stock are thriving and healthy.
Other management issues require that I forward plan and order in materials in advance for example I need to know when, how much and where to spread nitrogen which assits the growth of grass - so that I will have enough in supply to match my requirements.
What are the main challenges?
What's not so cool?
There is a big commitment to be made when you are thinking about going into dairy farming. You can have holidays but you also need to be there for a lot of the year twice a day to milk the cows. It is not a chore if it is something you enjoy and get satisfaction from. I would see the biggest not so cool thing is having to work outside in the rain!
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
In farming you are a jack of all trades including management, timekeeping, plumbing, welding, animal husbandry, grass analysis. On a personal level I bring an attention to detail, enthusiam for the way of life and the enjoyment of seeing my stock perform to the best of its ability. I also enjoy and I am good at working with my hands.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
Agricultural Science - I really enjoyed it and it gave me a good understanding of the basics in agriculture. Technical Drawing and Construction Studies - I enjoyed the hands on building as well as the planning and design aspect which has assisted me in planning and building my farm yard from the parlour, sheds, workshops and even my new house.
If I could go back in time I think I would of taken Business Studies to give me a better grasp of the financial aspects that are involve in my farming business.
What is your education to date?
- Leaving Cert 1998 Kilkenny College
- Certificate in Agriculture 1999 Kildalton College - achieved distinction
- Certificate in Farming 2000 Kildalton College - achieved distinction 2001 Full time farmer
Other places where I have gained knowledge are the Kildalton Discussion Group, Macra na Feirme Ag Affairs committee and study tour to New Zealand.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What is your dream job?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Like many jobs it can vary from time of year but over all I am very happy with my lifestyle. Farming has the advantage that you can always make time for family and friends. During busy times of the year such as calving season they can be long hours but with good management the work load can be reduced.
On my own farm I have enough cows that I can afford to employ someone full time, this in turn allows me time off. The farm also covers the cost for the up keep of the dwelling house and travel.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
The best bit of advice I could give anyone thinking about going into dairy farming is to go out and get experience first hand on a farm. This way you will know if you enjoy it and have a passion to do it first hand. If you do then studying agriculture in school and then onto an ag college is a great foundation to get the required knowledge you will need in the future.
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
What is your favourite music?
What is your favourite film?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
Education and Training?
Advice for Others?