Growing up on a family farm in the heart of Co. Kilkenny sowed the seed for Niamh Bambrick.
Niamh's agricultural career was influenced by her father John, who sparked her interest in the sector from a tender age.
“My father has always been a huge influence on my life in so many aspects; his love of and involvement in agriculture has had a major impact on me.” Niamh Bambrick told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
“This combined with having a dairy farmer as my partner means I won’t be leaving the farming life anytime soon.”
With her eyes fixed securely on carving out a career path within the Agricultural sector, Niamh was reassured that taking the Agricultural Science route was the perfect fit, once she realised that “being a vet on-call during the night didn’t suit the love of a good 8-hours sleep”.
Niamh progressed to University College Dublin (UCD) to undertake a degree in Animal and Crop Production following the completion of her Leaving Certificate in 2012.
The Kilkenny native floated from the college to the corporate life in 2016 when was selected for the Glanbia Graduate Programme; she initially worked as an agronomist with Glanbia’s tillage team and covered the Wicklow; Kildare and Carlow region.
“I always found myself counting the cows in the fields as I drove along the road rather than the barley plants per sq meter.” Niamh laughed.
Ruminant Business Manager
In January of this year, Niamh moved to fill the Ruminant Business Manager position at Glanbia. She now covers the South Wexford/ South Kilkenny region and works closely with dairy farmers predominantly, along with some beef farmers.
“I liaise closely with farmers throughout the year ensuring nutrition on the farm is correct; optimising grass growth and potential; implementing a correct veterinary programme to name just a few.”
“I am on-hand to provide advice across a wide spectrum of issues when needed and finding a solution for the farmer which is suitable to his enterprise,” Niamh added.
Women in Ag
To summarise her “phenomenally positive” involvement as a female in the sector so far, a determined Niamh has been inspired by the golden words of Gina Carey “a strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink”
Niamh claims she has always lived life with the mentality “gender never matters in any walk of life, you just have to prove yourself.
“With no brothers and two girls in our family, it’s a testament to my parents believe in equality that both my sister and I studied Agricultural Science in UCD and now both have careers in the industry.”
“Throughout my career, I have been blessed to meet and work alongside some phenomenal women in the agricultural industry. I have been very lucky to work for Glanbia where your gender is never a question but rather your work ethic and ability.” Niamh said.
The Key to Success
When asked what is the key to success, Niamh highlighted the importance of finding a person within a corporate structure, that is in a position to officiate as a mentor and to provide unbiased advice.
“I was lucky to be covering a similar area as a man named Michael Ryan. He has been a huge support throughout my career over the last year, as his knowledge and friendship have been an unbelievable support.”
“He always has an answer for me, every time I ring him. I believe every young female and male needs a Michael Ryan early on in their career.” Niamh added.
Sport & Charity Work
Agriculture paints part of the picture for Niamh, who has an equally as successful sporting portfolio to her well-known name.
Niamh’s involvement on the camogie field is proof of the pudding that farming and sport are powerfully linked. She has worn the Windgap and Kilkenny jerseys with pride for years and a prestigious All-Ireland title in 2016 is one of her biggest milestone achievements to date.
“This year, I’ve taken a small break from Camogie and found a new love in long-distance running which is taking me to races all over the world.”
“I am also a huge supporter and ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland. I have recently completed the Mini-marathon for breast cancer and will complete the Glanbia twin peaks challenge which is a two-day mountain climb in September for the charity.” Niamh outlined.
While balancing a professional and sporting career along with squeezing time out of a busy schedule to raise money for charities can be a juggle, Niamh also sits as a council member of the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) - the professional body for Agricultural Science graduates in Ireland.
In addition, she was always going to find her way into the rural youth organisation at some stage, as a result of her father being the Vice-President of Macra na Feirme and the former Kilkenny county chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).
“Macra is a fantastic organisation for young people which instilled confidence in me and continually pushes me to step outside my comfort zone.”
Satisfied in her current role with Glanbia, Niamh, a dynamic operator has a diverse career under her belt having worked in two different industries - dairy and tillage across eight counties.
“I absolutely love working with Glanbia and am thoroughly enjoying my time here I couldn’t ask for a better company to work for. Farmers continue to challenge me every day and I thrive on it.”
Her main ambition is to continue to learn and develop throughout her career and progress her education, by completing a part-time Masters and undertaking a different course every year in order to push her career a step further.
“I never want to be complacent - I want to continue to challenge myself; to take risks by stepping outside my comfort zone and to surround myself by people whom which I believe I can learn from,” Niamh concluded.
“For me as a woman in agriculture, I have huge ambition for my career and will push myself to satisfy that ambition.”
If you are a woman in Agriculture and you wish to share your story, email - firstname.lastname@example.org - and you may be featured on That’s Farming next week.