Clodagh Hughes runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen- here is this week's update:
I had been trying for a few years now to get onto the Teagasc-run distance Green Cert course for non-agricultural award holders.
The Green Cert is a college course for existing farmers and also those looking to enter the farming world.
I want to complete this course for a couple of reasons; I would feel more validated as a farmer and the course is extremely varied in the farming practices it covers.
It deals with topics from grassland management to animal husbandry, technology, environmental issues and an area I need particular guidance with, farm business planning.
As I do not have any previous formal agricultural qualifications, I had to pass a number of criteria in order to be eligible for this course. You must have completed a 3rd-level education course up to at least level 6 as recognised on the national grading system.
Now, I am not going to get bogged down by age, getting older and all that ‘stuff and nonsense’, but when I contacted the college where I’d studied for my original career in professional cookery to get proof of my degree, well I was ever so slightly miffed when told that “unfortunately their records didn’t go back that far”…. it was only 1999.
When I had recovered from my initial shock, I was offered a certified letter from the college signed by the head of the department to prove I had completed the course and at the specified level required to enrol for the Green Cert.
Induction meeting and assignments
We had our induction meeting by Zoom call on Thursday last and given a run-down of the course layout, introduced to some of our tutors and already given some homework.
As you can imagine, the very nature of a farming course must involve a lot of outdoor, hands-on work with practical tasks and discussions, these are carried out on host farms around the countryside.
The beauty of having my own farm is that I can complete the majority of tasks with my own animals and have all the necessary paperwork required for some of the business and technology modules.
In case you have not realised yet, I am delighted to have started and already have 2 assignments looming!
Meanwhile…back at the ranch, it is countdown to tupping time. My ewes are in great condition ready for the introduction of the ram and all going to plan my lambing season will start a couple of weeks earlier in 2021.
Quick update on my woolly patients, the wee lamb suffering with shock from last Sunday has recovered fully but unfortunately, as I had surmised, my other ewe lamb has a bad joint fracture with considerable soft tissue damage which is beyond repair.
I am treating her for an infected wound in the joint and she is comfortable, but I am afraid she is going to be volunteered for my freezer.
I am away to borrow my father’s old Ford tractor to practice reversing a trailer! Bye.