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Keith Hayes
At a minimum get your Leaving Cert, that’s required anyway. But don’t sell yourself short aim for a third level college qualification, something like a science degree. It may not have obvious benefits now but the career is changing direction so fast it could stand to you big time.

Take your time in applying I joined the service when I was 25 yrs old and looking back I think around that age is the right time. When you consider some of the calls we attend and things we may need to deal with, joining at 17 or 18 after the Leaving Cert with little or no life experiences may turn you off because it is very demanding physically, mentally and emotionally.
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Career Profile: Farm Manager

Patrick Dunne is a Farm Manager from Navan, Co. Meath working in Golden, Co.Tipperary. His interests are GAA, Football and anything related to farming. 

Farm details

Area: 94 ha
Labour: 1.5 labour units
Herd: 155 spring calving cows, 50 in calf heifers and 61 calves

Career path
  • Level 5 and 6 Certificate at Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College (2 years)
  • Teagasc Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management (2 years)
  • Farm manager (6 months)
Background

Patrick is not from a farming background but became interested in dairying through summer jobs. He chose a career in dairy farming because of the opportunities it offered being the most profitable farming enterprise. Although he admits it can be a tough lifestyle at times, being his own boss on a daily basis and having the freedom to make management decisions on the farm more than compensates. 

Overview of current role

Patrick manages all aspects of the physical farm performance, milking, grassland management, breeding and calf rearing with some guidance from the farm owner. He would like to get more involved in the financial management of the farm in the future.
Currently, he is helping to supervise the development work happening on farm in preparation for milking 200+ cows in the future.

Up-skilling

Patrick is involved in two discussion groups. He is constantly on the lookout for any short courses or workshops that can help him improve his financial planning and business skills. Patrick firmly believes that on-farm experience is the best way to learn and develop the necessary skills which is why he chose the practical Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management course. Patrick has built up a number of contacts who are only a phone call away when he needs advice.

Future career goals

Patrick’s career goal is to enter a sharemilking arrangement. He plans to build up his own herd of cows and enter an arrangement with a farm owner. He has a positive attitude and takes pride in his work which he hopes will help him to find a progressive farm owner to work with in the future.

Article by: Teagasc