Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Agri students target a future in dairying

Lisa Daunt, guidance councillor, with student Ramiya Renolds, teacher Maitead Dullea, James Daunt of Teagasc, and Lorraine Collins from Kinsale Community School at the open day at Clonakilty Agricultural College. Photo by Denis Boyle
Lisa Daunt, guidance councillor, with student Ramiya Renolds, teacher Maitead Dullea, James Daunt of Teagasc, and Lorraine Collins from Kinsale Community School at the open day at Clonakilty Agricultural College. Photo by Denis Boyle
Brian Desmond
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Dairy farming is the future for agriculture graduates in the south of the country, judging the mood among students at last week's open day in Clonakilty Agricultural College.

Brian Desmond, a second year Advanced Dairy Certificate student, told the Farming Independent that he plans to go into partnership with his father Jerome and mother Majella in a few years after travelling, and said that most of his classmates share a similar dairy ambition.

"We're milking 130 cows at home. From a young age I can remember nothing else but farming all the time. I've a huge passion for it. I plan to expand with my parents and rent more land, or possibly set up a second dairy unit that I would be in charge of, and they could continue running the show at home because they are still quite young," he says.

"Two of the lads I travel down with don't have any cows but they're both planning on working with a farm manager and hope to milk cows. This course has influenced them towards dairy."

Brian says that there is a real demand for labour in the southern region and for farmers looking for young, skilled and educated dairy graduates to work with them.

"There's a real demand - I wouldn't even call it labour - there's a demand for people to work with you. With this certificate, you are really educated in modern technology and farming so you should be used as a person to work with.

"The two farmers I've worked with have always asked me for my opinion, which gave me a great confidence boost, and asked what way we do things at home. I was able to take things from them, but they were also able to take ideas from me to put into their business."

Brian adds that he and his peers don't talk about issues like Brexit as much as they should, but admits that he is concerned what the outcome of all the increased dairy expansion will be.

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"I worry a small bit about where all this produce is going to go, but the world's population is increasing all the time and at the end of the day, we're all going to have to be fed.

"Sustainability is huge so we have to become more efficient and use that as a real selling point to increase our markets."

While the hundreds of fourth, fifth and sixth years attending the Clonakilty open day may not yet have considered what path they want to enter in farming, Teagasc farm management specialist Tom Curran urges them to remember that their parents may not be ready for them to come home to farm.

Instead, they should think about working on a farm elsewhere in Ireland or abroad before returning home full time. "Family circumstances might impact on how soon you can go home. There may be other dependants, brothers and sisters, that need to be provided by for by your parents and maybe your parents aren't ready for you to come home," says Mr Curran.

"If that's the case, you could work on other farms in Ireland or New Zealand to gain suitable experience for you when you do go home. If you have designs on travelling further, maybe wait until you have your travel bug satisfied and your experience gained elsewhere and your parents are ready for you to come home then."

He says that the farm partnership is the ideal transition for young people to gradually have an equal say in the running of the business.

"It moves people on from being the boy or girl at home with parents being the boss to being equal partners in the business to developing yourself as a farmer going forward."

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