Amie Coonan runs a 40-cow suckler herd with her mother in Templemore, Co. Tipperary alongside her role as an area sales manager for Dairygold.
After graduating from UCD in 2016 with a degree in animal and crop production, Amie joined the Dairygold graduate programme.
She was then offered a permanent position as an area sales manager for the west Limerick and Kerry area and remained in this area for almost 2 years, before moving to the south Tipperary region last year.
This week, Amie gives us an insight into her working life.
Where are you based?
South Tipperary Region – I spend most of my time on the road doing farm calls, but I also have an office in the New Inn branch.
What does your day currently consist of?
Each and every day in my role is different – it really depends on what the farmer requires.
Currently, an average day consists of an hour or two of laptop work in the morning. This can consist of accounts, feed and fertiliser orders or general admin.
Usually, I would have a day of farm calls lined up, but at the moment I am walking a lot of grass and reseeds for chemical spray advice, silage ground for nitrates/sugars testing and also general grass and feed advice for cows at breeding and also calves that are hitting grass.
The phone would also be busy with inbound calls in relation to feed, fertiliser and spray advice. (Covid-19 is having an effect on this at the moment, with fewer farm calls taking place.)
Who do you liaise with on a daily basis?
Most of my day is spent dealing with farmers, both in person and over the phone, but I also have a huge amount of support from the overall Agri team. I can always lift up the phone and get some advice when it’s needed.
What kind of responsibilities do you have currently?
I am responsible for ensuring Dairygold milk suppliers in the South Tipperary region are getting the most out of their farm.
This involves ensuring the inputs we provide are suitable for that individual farming system – be it feed, grassland management, fertiliser etc.
I am also responsible for the overall account management, sales and milk payments in the area.
Favourite part of your role?
I love that I am constantly learning, be it from farmers or from our monthly technical training.
Most farmers I deal with have 40+ years of experience and are a fountain of knowledge.
On the other side, we as a dairy team meet monthly with industry leaders in animal health, grassland management, diet formulation etc. This keeps us up to date with any new knowledge or research related to farming.
Most challenging part of your role?
Having a job that is so closely related to the weather. Farming is very unpredictable which leads to my job changing quite quickly with the seasons. It’s much easier to work in this industry when the weather plays ball.
Has this role met your expectations?
Yes, above and beyond. I have gained an enormous amount of knowledge over the last 4 years and continue to do so.
Joining through the graduate programme gave me an insight into the business as a whole before deciding on an area to pursue my career in.
What plans/hopes do you have for career progression?
I have just recently moved geographical areas within my role – my main aim at the moment is to get to know each of my new farming customers and the type of system they operate.
Outside of this, I want to gain more in-depth knowledge on the feed formulation, specs and diets side of the industry. There is always more to learn.
Why should younger generations follow in your footsteps?
This is a great career option for anyone that has a keen interest in both the practical and theoretical side of farming, you get a nice mix of both office work and on-farm work.
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