Growing crops and breeding animals is a big part of farm life. Our farms make up a major source of economic activity and are the focus of rural life.
The food on your table isn’t the only thing that comes from the Irish farm, farms sell their produce to a wide variety of industries, whether it's the's the wool in your clothes or the crops used to make biofuels and biopolymers. They may sell their produce to food manufacturers to be processed into food or they may sell directly to the consumer at farmers markets.
There are two main forms of farming in Ireland. One is tillage farming, growing food for livestock and for industries such as baking bread, beer brewing, making breakfast cereals and distilling. The other is dairy farming, raising cows and other farm animals for milk.
Employment connected to tillage farming not only includes growers but also those employed in the food processing sector dependent on tillage crops.
Dairy farming is growing again in Ireland, the removal of milk quotas means farmers have even more opportunity to increase output and herd size, creating demand for farm hands to assist them. The expanding Irish dairy industry can now provide a range of attractive career opportunities that can potentially lead to farm and business ownership.
Agriculture-related businesses include: Supplying farmers - i.e. the manufacture and sales of animal feed, fertiliser, equipment, machinery and even insurance; and the Marketing of farm produce - i.e. the distribution, processing and retailing of agricultural and horticultural products to consumers.
Farm life is different to almost every other career, the days start earlier and may end later. The type of work you will be doing will change with the season and you will be out in the weather for most of your working day.
Agricultural work is becoming more technical thanks to breakthroughs in agricultural science, crop management and farm machinery. This has increased the value of agricultural science courses, giving prospective farmers a grounding in the changing business and technical demands of agricultural life.
Although the nature of some of the work in this sector can be very physical, it offers a healthy and rewarding lifestyle. As a starting point, you should consider whether you would enjoy the outdoor life and working with nature.