‘Travelling to the UK’ was the most effective resolution

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in dialog with Emma Tobin (31), Ardfinnan, Co Tipperary, as a part of this week’s girls in ag phase.  She discusses her tillage farming roots, preliminary wishes to turn into a veterinary nurse,  learning agriculture at Munster Technological College and the way a stint throughout the waters within the UK paved the best way for her profession as a sheep technician with Kildalton Agricultural Faculty.

“I dwell with my accomplice and daughter in Kilsheelan, Co Tipperary and am the third era on our farm.

My grandfather initially began a pig farm which my dad then took over, however within the early 2000s, he determined to get out of pigs and maintain the farm going solely as a tillage enterprise.

My earliest recollections of farming must be with pigs. I all the time had the job of nursing the weaker bonhams and serving to dad with shifting them spherical and feeding.

That’s most likely what sparked my curiosity within the livestock facet of farming greater than the arable facet, actually.

Tobin Farms

We’re at the moment farming a mixture of natural and standard tillage. The natural is our personal, with our predominant produce being oats for Flahahans together with a crop of natural beans, which we are attempting for the primary time this 12 months.

The traditional then is rented land that we took on this 12 months and have simply taken a crop of spring barley off of it, which has averaged 3.5tn/acre, which we’re very pleased with.

We transformed our personal land to natural simply over ten years in the past now. On the time, there was an enormous hole available in the market, so we determined to take an opportunity on it, an opportunity that has very fortunately paid off.

Changing to natural was a giant step, however we might not convert again after seeing the advantages it has needed to our land, the atmosphere, and the wildlife.

I suppose the primary folks concerned in Tobin Farms are myself, my dad Tom, and brother Seán, however all our household are concerned, actually.

My youthful brother, Mike, does rather a lot, each out and in of the busy seasons with driving and upkeep, whereas our sister, Alice, does the accounts.

Our mom, Bernie, is the glue that holds us all collectively –she’s the hidden gem in the entire operation.

I’ll maintain my hand up and say I’d not be the most effective at driving tractors, so my major obligations are taking a look at crop rotations, what cowl crops will work properly, taking a look at our nitrates, finishing derogations and every other paperwork that we have to do.


I first went for veterinary nursing in 2009, however after the primary 12 months, I made a decision it was not for me. My curiosity lay in giant animals greater than small, so I went again and did my Leaving Cert once more.

In 2011, I enrolled on the agriculture course at Cork Institute of Expertise (Presently Munster Technological College).

I studied for a BscHon in Agriculture from 2011 to 2015, and as soon as I graduated, I stayed working within the veterinary apply I had labored in whereas in school.

Then in August 2016, I moved to Somerset within the U.Ok., the place I used to be employed by Bridgewater and Taunton Faculty as a trainee trainer in agriculture.

Throughout my remaining 12 months in school, I realised that educating was the pathway I wished to take, and BTC gave me the chance to try this.

After I began, they put me by means of my educating diploma whereas I used to be educating, therefore the function title ‘trainee trainer’.

As soon as I completed my two years of coaching, I used to be promoted to lecturer and course chief throughout the agriculture crew.

Working in BTC, and Somerset, was essentially the most wonderful expertise and it actually opened my eyes to the assorted agricultural practices which are on the market, so I’d extremely suggest it to anybody.

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Sheep technician at Kildalton Agricultural Faculty

Presently, I’m a sheep technician at Kildalton Agricultural Faculty. My predominant obligations are working the sheep unit right here within the school in addition to finishing up the sensible educating to college students, which is especially sheep practicals, however I do perform some soil, tillage, and dairy practicals additionally.

Throughout time period time, I are likely to have lessons all day Monday – Thursday. Together with our personal degree 5 and Stage 6 college students, we even have WIT college students, so we’re typically fairly busy.

If I’m not educating, I’m prepping for lessons, checking on the sheep, finishing buy orders, and any basic day-to-day working of a sheep enterprise.

I work carefully alongside all educating and admin employees right here in Kildalton.

The folks concerned within the sheep unit with myself are Anna, the sheep lecturer right here in Kildalton and the sheep enterprise chief, and Billy, who’s the stockman for the drystock enterprise right here and actually our right-hand man!

I really like the truth that I get to show every single day however am additionally concerned within the farm and the working of the sheep unit.

I suppose essentially the most difficult is maintaining a worthwhile sheep enterprise whereas additionally catering for college kids within the sense that we might have excessive outputs from shopping for tools and many others.

The place is assembly my expectations; Kildalton is an incredible place to work, and the folks I work with make all of it the higher.

In case you may flip again the clock, career-wise, I probably would have chosen ag science moderately than agriculture in school, just because you will have soil science integrated into the diploma, which is a large profit to you it doesn’t matter what facet of farming you might be in.

Aside from that, I really feel that every little thing has occurred the best way it ought to have for me.

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Different pursuits

Exterior of labor, I’m not at the moment concerned in sport however plan on enjoying Gaelic soccer with my native membership, Ardfinnan, however it might have to attend till subsequent season now!

We’ve horses at dwelling, too, so I hope within the subsequent 12 months, or so I can get again into that and begin competing once more; all going properly. It’s only a case of discovering the time in the meanwhile.

Exterior of that, we now have two working spaniels who we take capturing, beating, and selecting up. I’ve the occasional day alone gun, however I desire to go beating and selecting up with the canines.

It’s wonderful watching them work, and it’s a actual sense of accomplishment whenever you get complimented on them, particularly once we skilled them ourselves and have put a lot work into making them the canines they’re immediately.


In the intervening time, my accomplice is managing a dairy farm in Kilsheelan, and we each have a ardour for sheep and dairy, so we hope sooner or later to presumably tackle our personal tenancy or else begin our personal flock and/or herd.

I’ve a specific curiosity in dairy herd well being and administration, so I want to construct on that extra and look into the potential of beginning a consultancy enterprise of my very own that appears on the likes of mobility scoring, physique situation scoring, parlour hygiene, SCC, and many others., however for now, I’m completely happy and love my job in KC!

The longer term is all the time shiny – there’s a lot coming down the road, particularly for girls in agriculture, which is nice.

This 12 months has been notably powerful with climate, feeding, and costs going up the best way they’ve, however it simply means we now have to work just a little more durable within the job all of us love. The outcomes will come a method or one other.

It has been a journey, however I’ve acquired there; nothing comes simple, and I’ve needed to work exhausting to get to the place I’m immediately, however it has all 100% been value it. Travelling and going to the U.Ok. was the most effective resolution career-wise that I may have presumably made.

My information and expertise have grown a lot since being there, so for anybody on the fence about travelling – DO IT!

Ladies in ag

There was plenty of speak round girls in agriculture over the past 12 – 18 months, which is nice.

However, on the flip facet of that, we can’t let it get to the stage that if there’s a girl on a panel dialogue that it’s thought she is simply there due to wanting to indicate equity.

All through my profession, I’ve by no means been checked out otherwise or handled otherwise, together with on our dwelling farm.

If I’m adequate and deserving of the function, I get it, however you’ll want to be keen to carry your hand up and say, ‘can I’ve assist with this?’ or ‘would you thoughts displaying me how to do that?’.

I can’t flip over any of the rams we now have right here within the school as a result of I’m simply not bodily robust sufficient to do it, so I ask for assist.

I suppose what I’m attempting to say is to be assured in your self but in addition don’t be afraid to say you may’t do one thing.”

To share your story like this sheep technician, e mail – [email protected]

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