Annie Galligan, a renowned farmer; a classically trained soprano and a Heatime animal specialist with Animal Health and Monitoring Systems LTD, is powering ahead in the world of Agriculture.
The Oldcastle, Co. Meath native, a third-generation farmer currently runs a thriving drystock and sheep enterprise in partnership with her father.
The family dispersed their 45-cow suckler herd in 2016 and have since switched to a calf-rearing enterprise, with thirty-five Aberdeen-Angus-crosses set to go under the hammer in October. The cattle operation is managed alongside an enterprise comprising of 250-350 sheep of breeds Black Scottish Mountain crossed with Vendeen; Charollais and Texel blood.
“Lambing season is my favourite time of year. I do most of the lambing at home herself myself over a 7-8-week period.” Annie Galligan told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
Annie juggles the operation of the family farm with a full-time off-farm position, which she moved to fill in December-2017.
Her role with Animal Health and Monitoring Systems LTD in coordination with the Lely Centre in Mullingar involves focusing on heat detection; animal health and hoof-care in border counties and Northern Ireland.
“I travel from farm-to-farm to discuss heat detection systems with farmers such as Heatime collars for Heat detection; optimum time for AI’ing; best time for calving; calving alerts and health and monitoring of dairy and suckler herds.”
“I enjoy the interaction with farmers and being on the road all the time. I meet different farmers running different farming enterprises daily and then I have my own customer base.”
Miles of Experience
Annie brings miles of experience to the sector, having completed a Green Certificate at Ballyhaise Agricultural College before she progressed to enrol on an Agricultural and Veterinary Science degree programme - a joint collaboration between UCD and DkIT.
After graduation, the Meath native secured a farm managerial position for close to six-years and then went in search of an industry-related job.
Women in Ag
As someone with a direct involvement in Agriculture for a considerable period now, Annie admits that her experience as a woman in agriculture has brought its fair share of challenges.
“In my current job, I talk to a farmer on the phone for a couple of days and I then go out to the farm to meet them. Usually, they say to me ‘oh you’re not what we expected’ - I brush it off and pass no remarks.”
“Other farmers are delighted to see women involved in agriculture and would love if their daughters would get involved in the sector.”
Despite this, Annie feels that women in the sector are being viewed as equal by the majority of their male counterparts and the profile of women in agriculture is on an upward trend. She is of the opinion that more women will become involved in all different aspects of the industry as time progresses.
“If you put your mind to it, there is no difference between men and women really.”
“Fair enough, there can be a difference in strength, but a woman from New Zealand is now regarded as one of the top shearers in Ireland and Europe. That is a major turn-around.” Annie explained.
Looking forward to the future, Annie is satisfied with the variety that her part-time farming enterprise full-time position with Animal Health and Monitoring Systems LTD offers.
“I was involved in Ramor Macra up until last year; however, due to work and farming commitments, this has taken a back seat, but only for now.”
“By 2025/2026, I would love to be home full-time with a full flock of sheep of my own, with anything up to 900 sheep,” Annie concluded.
Inspiring Words from Annie
“If you’re interested in Agriculture, take it on; don’t let anyone talk you out of it or get in your way.”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.