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HomeDairy‘It was a huge gamble to change the direction of my career’...
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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‘It was a huge gamble to change the direction of my career’ – Dairy business graduate (27)

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Anne Eviston (27) in this week’s Career Focus segment. We discuss her dairying roots, dairy business studies at UCD, a stint at Glanbia, and leap into the digital marketing world with Green Acre Marketing.

“I am from the small parish of Loughmore, Castleiney in mid-Tipperary and currently live with my partner, Michael Meagher, on his tillage farm in Grangemockler in south Tipperary.

My father, Conor, is the seventh generation of the Evistons to farm our 82-acre farm in Clonomoocogue. His father, William, and mother, Nancy, farmed it before him.

We have had a few pigs, a few lambs and ponies, and horses through the years. They used to have 4-acres of corn, 4-acres of beet, as there was a beet factory in Thurles at the time, and 2-acres of spuds which my grandfather used to sell to shops in Thurles.

My father now operates a 65-cow spring calving herd. The herd comprises predominantly British Friesian cows, and he rears all his own replacement heifers on-farm. Bigger is not always better when it comes to farming.

He operates the small herd to a high standard, and last year, the herd produced an average of 535kg/MS/cow. The farm produced 13.5t/DM/ha in 2021.

My father, Conor, runs the farm with the help of my mother, Peggy, in the springtime. Myself, my sisters and my brother help where and when it is necessary also.

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Dairy business degree and Glanbia graduate programme

I graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in dairy business. I began in 2014 and graduated in 2018.

Like most people, I thought about being a teacher, but probably for the wrong reasons. I also considered a business career, but dairy business combined agriculture and business, so it was an obvious choice.

I was really happy with this course as it gave a nice blend of ag science and business along with practical work experience in New Zealand in 2016, where I spent six months on a 1,000-cow dairy farm.

This was a great experience that taught me so much and, gave me a good sense of hard work, responsibility, and opened my eyes to a beautiful part of the world

After I graduated from UCD, I joined the Pure Ambition Graduate Program with Glanbia and worked as a support to ruminant and branch teams for the first five months and then moved into a permanent role as a ruminant business manager.

I worked in that role for two years until I started my current role, a communications executive at Green Acre Marketing, in July 2021.

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Current role

Green Acre Marketing provides marketing and PR services specifically to the Food and Agribusiness sectors.

Green Acre Marketing provides services at every level of the marketing function by assisting companies to sharpen their existing brand, develop a completely new image and brand and develop effective marketing strategies.

The team is constantly learning and broadening our knowledge in all aspects of marketing and agriculture. We are currently looking for a new team member to assist with some digital marketing.

For the most part, I develop and deliver content, implement communication strategies, manage websites, and keep up-to-date with current digital marketing trends, agricultural trends, and news.

Furthermore, I develop digital content and attend and facilitate video shoots. The thing I love most about the job is the variety – no two days are the same.

I work in the office two days a week and from home three days. I also attend shoots and events from time to time. It is nice to get out and meet the client face to face.

It is great to be in the office because we collaborate really well, but we are constantly in touch throughout the day when we are at home.

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A typical day in working life

We have a team of five people here, and it is an extremely collaborative environment. I work closely with our MD, Aileen Barron, managing and re-designing websites.

If I am out on a video shoot, it is usually with Lisa Meyler, an account manager here. If I am developing social media content, I work with Tom Sinnott, our digital content creator, but I work most closely with our senior account director, Lisa Dunphy. We collaborate on a number of accounts and work together on content.

Digital marketing is constantly changing, and being new to the marketing world was certainly a challenge, so keeping up with trends is a constant challenge

I would say this position has surpassed my expectations. I was unsure about the change, but I needed to do something. It was a massive leap of faith, changing my career in a drastic enough way.

Also, it was a massive leap of faith for Aileen and Green Acre Marketing to take me on, and I think it is going great.

Probably making a move to Green Acre Marketing has been my career highlight to date.

It was a huge gamble to change the direction of my career, and it has been a massive learning curve, but it has certainly paid off, I feel.

I have recently finished a course in digital marketing. Honestly, I am learning daily from my colleagues.

I enjoy photography and have a drone I love to take it out for a spin when my partner, Michael, is spreading, spraying, sowing, or harvesting, so that is something I would like to upskill in but for myself as much as for work.

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Outside of work and farming, I play camogie and ladies football. I play camogie for Drom and Inch, and for the first year since I can remember, we have a ladies football team in Loughmore Castleiney.

I have not played for Loughmore since I was thirteen, playing with the boys! In camogie, we compete at a high level and currently hold three senior county titles in a row.

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My journey to where I am now, I suppose, has not been that straightforward. If you asked me at 17 or so what I thought I would be doing in 10 years – this job would not have even crossed my mind.

I am a firm believer in making your own luck; you have to be willing to put your head down to get something you want, be it in your professional career, sports career, or your personal life.

I am happy where I am for now. I am going to keep my head down and learn as much as I can and try to bring more and more value to the Green Acre Marketing team.

To succeed in the agricultural industry, it requires hard work, making yourself stand out from the crowd, and the ability to bring something different to an organisation.

You should always keep an open mind; you never know what opportunities will present themselves. Put your head down, work hard, and you will get the rewards.”

To share your story, email – [email protected]

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