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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
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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‘You do not need to come from a farm to find a path in agriculture’

You do not need to hail from a farming background to carve a successful career in the agricultural sector.

That was one of the main messages of a Women in STEM webinar hosted by broadcaster, Jonathan McCrea, in conjunction with Teagasc in recent weeks.

The virtual event put the spotlight on agricultural careers and highlighted the importance of employee diversity in respect of recruitment and talent acquisition.

In response to a viewer’s question, Hennessy, who works as a senior research officer at Teagasc Moorepark, explained:

“You absolutely do not need to have to be from a farm [to succeed in agriculture]. Lots of people that I went to agricultural college with and did ag science with were not from a farm, but they had a big interest in agriculture or animals, or how plants grow, for example.”

“You do not need to have studied agricultural science to work for Teagasc. We have PhD students here who are not from an agricultural science background, but are from some other area of science.”

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“The sky is the limit. If you are interested and you work at something, you can do whatever you want. There is so much information and so many people with brilliant teamwork in Teagasc who can help you along the way.”

“So, you do not at all need to come from a farm to find a path in agriculture,” she added.

Follow your passion

Siobhan Kavanagh, Signpost Programme Communications and Engagement Specialist, added that diversity is “good” because someone from a non-farming background can bring perspective to a conversation.

She told viewers: “I have lots of friends that do not come from an agricultural background at all, and they have excelled.”

“I think it is what you are passionate about, and I know when I was thinking about studying agriculture, I would have contacted a number of people in the industry to see if it was a good or bad idea.”

“That was back in 1984, and I was told no, that agriculture was on its knees, so do not go into that industry, that is struggling. I was passionate about it and wanted to go in, so I think you have to follow your passion, whatever it is.”

“Regardless of what your background is, if you are passionate about something, just go with it. You have to heed some of the advice, but I ignored that advice that it was a bad industry.”

She told viewers that she would not worry about “having a grand plan starting off but just take the opportunities as they come”.

“The career will come as I think you take your opportunities as they come along,” she concluded.

See our Career Focus segment.

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