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HomeFarming News3 ag graduates from non-farming backgrounds
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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3 ag graduates from non-farming backgrounds

In this news article, That’s Farming, takes a look back on agriculture graduates, from non-farming backgrounds, that we have featured.

Claire Dolan

Claire Dolan’s move to place UCD’s animal science course on her CAO application was “a last-minute decision”.

Originally, she had selected a nursing degree as her first preference but decided to “change it last minute before the deadline”.

“I chose UCD as it had a great reputation within the agricultural industry, and the graduates were highly sought after,” she told www.thatsfarming.com.

“I do not come from a farming background – my uncle would have a suckler farm, but that would be the only connection I had to farming growing up.”

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“But, I have always had an interest in farming and animals from a young age.”

“Then, I took agricultural science as a subject choice for my Leaving Cert – I absolutely loved it and found it very interesting, and I was keen to learn more,” she added.

Read more about her career journey.

Niamh Bolton

Niamh Bolton’s first CAO choice was pharmaceutical science which she began studying in 2016 before realising her true career interest lies in the agriculture.

She was not born into a farm, but her introduction to the sector came in the form of helping sow potatoes on her uncle’s farm at the age of eight.

The Killeshin, Co Laois native, later decided to study agricultural science for her Leaving Certificate, which furthered her interest in the discipline.

“I also became very interested in the little Ferguson TED20 my father had at home. He received it from my uncle when he passed away in 2011 and repainted it and replaced worn-out parts; it is a great little machine,” she told our editor, Catherina Cunnane.

However, she believed her future would revolve around medical sciences, but that was not the case three months into her chosen course.

“After Christmas 2016, I found myself disinterested in the course and felt it was not the right path for me. I knew I loved science but did not know where to go from there.”

“After much thought and research, I realised agriculture and the science around agriculture was what I wanted to study. It was always an area I wanted to know more about.”

She deregistered from pharmaceutical science and reapplied to the CAO, listing the BSc in Agriculture course in WIT (now known as SETU Waterford) as her first choice.

She enrolled in its BSc in Agriculture course in 2017 and graduated with a Merit-Grade 1 following a virtual graduation in April 2021.

Bolton then completed a BSc (Honours) in Land Management (in Agriculture) in September 2020, graduating in 2021 with first-class honours.

Read more about her journey.

Shauna Jager

They say: ‘one thing leads to another’, and that is particularly true in the case of Shauna Jager’s journey in agriculture to date.

Although she grew up surrounded by agriculture, she “never had the confidence” to pursue a formal degree in this field.

That was until Transition Year when a new teacher came to her former Dublin-based all-girl secondary school and introduced students to the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition.

The competition was in its second year at the time when Shauna, who was not born into a farm, and her fellow classmates, applied.

“We were presented with our five Angus calves at the National Ploughing Championships.”

“We introduced agricultural science as a subject in the school, which there was, and still is, a huge demand for.”

Shauna mainly took responsibility for the calves as they were farmed on a neighbouring enterprise.

In 2018, Jager embarked on the next chapter, applying to study agricultural science at UCD. Although she knew she possessed a specific interest in Food and Agribusiness Management (FAM), she opted for the omnibus route.

Read more about her agricultural pathway.

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