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Kieran Magee, Farm Manager - Dry Stock
Farming, Horticulture & Forestry

Kieran Magee, Farm Manager - Dry Stock

Kieran Magee is a Dry Stock Farmer working in Gigginstown, Co Westmeath. He spent two years in Ballyhaise Agriculture College (Cavan), doing a Vocational Certificate in Agriculture. This was a FETAC accredited course run by Teagasc and recognised all over the world. He then took a 4 year Farm Management Course in Kildalton Agriculture and Horticultural College in Kilkenny, run by FETAC in conjunction with Teagasc.

Ask me your
first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

The best decision I made in my career to-date was to go to Agricultural College. I suppose the biggest milestone along the way was how I was lucky enough to secure a job on a dream farm with 6 months left in my Farm Management course.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

My close family are the main people who helped me decide. As I grew up on a farm it was always going to play a certain part in my life but I never realised how much until I left college. My family always encouraged me to farm but at the same time they were never to pushy which I think is also important.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I answered an advertisement in a national newspaper. I applied in writing and sent off my CV.  I then went through a number of interviews carried out by a selected panel of advisers.  Finally I was brought to my bosses office and told the good news by himself.

Describe a typical day?

I get up around 7.30 start work at 8.00. I go around all the stock and make sure everything is alive and well. I then make any important phone calls that need to be made.

I get tea from 10.00 until 10.30.  I call in with all my staff make sure all is well with them. I then sort out any problems they may have.

I try to get any meetings out of the way at this stage. Dinner is from 1.00 until 2.00.

Usually we try to get all the maintenance jobs completed around this time of the day. We get finished up between 5 and 6 but being a farmer there are certain times of the year when we have to work longer hours or get up in the middle of the night to check sick or pregnant animals.

It is also a big task battling not only a time scale but the weather.  A lot of our work is weather dependant and this can cause a lot of pressure which would not exist in an office job.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

The number one task in farming is to ensure all your stock is alive and well and to make sure they are getting looked after as well as is possible. To do this you have a responsibility to have good, happy and qualified staff. Those are the two most important necessities in farming.  Without happy staff you won't have happy thriving animals. So look after them!

What are the main challenges?

The main challenge is juggling work, family, friends and trying to find some time-out time amidst it all. The main challenge at work at the moment is the market place and trying to get fairly paid for our produce.

What's cool?

Being your own boss a lot of the time, making your own decisions, being able to step out of my back door every morning and stepping into my 1,000 acre office.

What's not so cool?

Burying animals or having to put them down. Being so busy some days that you don't have time to eat - starving in the evenings. Not getting home as often as maybe I should.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I'm not afraid to take chances plus I would always trust my own judgment. I think this is also a confidence thing which is built up over time. I'm capable of acting on my own initiative and getting on with the job in hand which is a must as people can't always be looking over your shoulder telling you what to do. It comes to a point where it's either sink or swim.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

All the subjects I choose had a practical aspect to them,e.g. Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical graphics and of course the usuals.  I suppose looking back on it I was always working with my hands and that's what I enjoyed.

The likes of Woodwork and Metalwork are skills which are used every day when out in the yard or down the back of a field fixing a broken machine. If I went back to pick better subjects I probably would have added Agricultural Science into the bunch, but other than that I'd stick with the same.

What is your education to date?

I spent two years in Agricultural College doing a Vocational Certificate in Agriculture. It's run by FETAC and recognised all over the world. I then moved into Farm Management, a 4 year course run by FETAC also in conjunction with Teagasc

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

My four years training with Teagasc have been so important to me, every day I get out of bed I have to use a skill or piece of knowledge I gained in that course.  The most appropriate course available now for what I am doing is the Advanced Certificate in Dry Stock run by Teagasc.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Away from all the farming I actually do find time to have fun, I played foot-ball for my county for 3 years which is something I will always look back on with pride.

Getting to where I am today in such a short space of time is a wonderful thing. I guess its down to making important decisions with confidence and having courage and not to follow everybody else.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

The most important quality I have is PATIENCE, a hugely important quality in any person or any career.

I would be very ambitious and have a willingness to work hard to achieve my goals and have a knack of getting people to work with me to achieve that goal.

Being a good listener is crucial when working in a management position when other people are involved. In my opinion, bringing all these qualities together into the one person and you can't be too far off the mark.

What is your dream job?

I'm in it!

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

My job couldn't be any better suited to the lifestyle I like. I'm an outdoor person, the middle of June with the sun splitting the stones or December with 3 coats on still getting cold and wet, its all the same to me. 

I just love being in the middle of it all. Unlike a lot of other jobs the hours I work can be long.  Getting up at 5am to go ploughing fields in the spring time and not coming home to 11pm might not be for everybody but I wouldnt have it any other way. Either it's in you or it's not!

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Someone who wants to be where I am today shall need bucket loads of ambition and not be afraid of hard work.  They will need to not be afraid of starting at the very bottom of that big high ladder but at the same time have the eagerness and determination to get to the top of that ladder because the opportunities are there.

Education is very important.  It may only seem like a silly piece of paper but it's that Cert, Diploma or Degree that gets you that job and not the man/woman beside you.

The one thing that is vital in not alone this job, but any job, and alot of people don't seem to have it, is common sense. It's something so simple but really important. if you have no cop-on then nobody wants to know you.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Always get stuck in, never ask anyone to do something you wouldn't do yourself. Every day will be so different especially in farming so take everything in your stride, be calm and most important of all enjoy what your doing - or its curtains!!!!

What is your favourite music?

American country e.g. Tim McGraw, Gareth Brooks.

What is your favourite film?


What is your pet hate at work?

People being late and attention seekers.

What is your star sign?


Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

As of yet, no I haven't, but hopefully when I get to grips with my job and settle down I would like to do a Horse Management course, maybe online. Other than that I can't see me having much time to go back to college in the near future.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Working on a farm over the summer or growing up on a farm should give you a fair good taste for it.

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