“My earliest farming memory is one of my sister and I, standing on upturned buckets, looking through a gap in the milking parlour wall watching my uncle milk the cows and our grandad beside us cleaning the teat buckets by the sink.”
“I can still remember the warmth from the pipe that brings the milk to the bulk tank against my face. My love for the pulsing sound of the clusters just grew from here.”
20-year-old Violet Ryan, who hails from Fawnagown, Co. Tipperary, recalled one of her earliest farming memories that instilled a love of the land in her.
She grew up beside her grandad’s dairy farm which is now being run by her grandmother, Margaret, and her uncle, Gerry.
“Neither of my parents farm, however, they have encouraged me and raised me with a love of nature, growing our own fruit and vegetables and having rescue hens.” she explained to Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming.
“We have been producing our own honey now for four years which creates its own buzz. I am now busy learning and practicing bee-keeping.”
“I love wearing my wellingtons and handling livestock. I never tire of seeing the different personalities within the herd. Witnessing the cows calving and helping them if needed is very humbling to me.”
“Farming has taught me that you cannot walk away from a job half-way through; you have to see it out to the end.”
Her farming background influenced the 20-year-old’s decision to enrol in a BSc in Agriculture at Waterford Institute of Technology.
Now entering into her final-year of the level-seven degree programme, she intends to complete an add-on, which, upon completion, will see her graduate with a BSc Honours in Land Management.
“The course has surpassed my expectations! I never thought I would learn how to weld or dissect animal organs.”
“To now have the knowledge of how to run your farm as a business and the importance of it, wasn’t something I ever gave thought to, but I am glad now I have learnt it and can put that knowledge to use.”
“Being surrounded by fellow agricultural students, sharing the same interest as me, along with their knowledge, has just made WIT my happy place.”
The Tipperary native completed work placement overseas from January to April of this year.
She was based in Awanui in the North Island in New Zealand, where she milked a 250-cow dairy herd twice-a-day in an 18-unit herringbone parlour by herself, while also managing heifers and calves.
“I never thought that by going there, I would witness the worst drought since 2013. Therefore, water management was a huge part of my work and by the end of my placement, I was a pro at fixing water troughs!”
“While over in New Zealand, I got an amazing opportunity to meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The prime minister interviewed my host farmer to discuss his drought management and to show her support to the other farmers in the same situation,” she added.
Women in ag
“From my experience, I have found and still do that the farmers I have met have encouraged me to do the very best I can. I don’t believe this is because I am a woman, I believe they wanted me to feel what I am capable of.”
“There is more to agriculture than what meets the eye; you just have to explore it. A career in agriculture isn’t just a case of being a farmer.”
“At times, do wish that my parents had a farm and land so I could put what I have learnt into practice, however, this does motivate me and there is no reason why I cannot rent land in the future.”
With no career plans set in stone yet, Violet is leaning towards animal welfare and genetics.
She hopes to have her own farm in the future and like many people, relishes the idea of seeing other parts of the globe in all its glory. “Australia is on my travel list, but not to go working on a farm.”
“Next year, I hope to complete the DIY AI course. I am going to apply for my own herd number and raise a few Hereford calves. My ultimate goal is to have a herd of Droimeann and Scottish Highland cattle.”
“I’m a girl whose head turns when they hear a tractor passing. I am passionate about every field of agriculture, and learning, experiencing, and working as much as I can as it is my passion.”
“I think technology will even have a bigger role in terms of machinery and tractors. I also can imagine biodiversity measures and protecting our environment will play a huge part in farming.” Violet concluded.
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