Julie Roche, Lombardstown, Mallow Co. Cork has just opened the doors to her new business - JR Agri Consulting.
She has been working in agricultural advisory for twelve years and has experience in all aspects of one-to-one advisory with the farming community.
Her work includes farm business planning and farm partnerships; she provides agricultural expert witness service on family law and other farming legal matters and has a vast knowledge of government schemes.
Julie has embraced this entrepreneurial opportunity having previously held positions in fertiliser and pharmaceutical companies and an agricultural consultancy firm.
She grew up on a dairy farm and graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2001 with a degree in Agricultural Science.
“Growing up, I liked the idea of veterinary but I am not disappointed that I didn’t steer my career in that direction.” She told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
“UCD’s Agricultural Science degree as the perfect fit for me, considering my farming background and interest in science.”
Julie secured a position with a start-up fertiliser company after she completed her undergraduate studies.
Some eighteen months later, she moved to fill another sales position, this time at Elanco Animal Health, covering the Munster and Leinster regions.
She remained her for two-and-a-half-years before taking a career break in 2005.“Ireland’s economy was booming at the time so there was no real worry when it came to giving up your job.”
She spent twelve-months back-packing in South America with friends before joining Brady Group in 2007.
“Agricultural consultancy was always something that I had always considered.” She experienced.
“I was lucky in the sense that Brady Group is a very broad agricultural consultancy; I got the opportunity to learn about all aspects.” She explained.
The Next Chapter
With a prominent position on the agricultural career ladder, the open-minded ASA (Agricultural Science Association) council member embarked on the next chapter of her career last month.
Julie hung up her boots at Brady Group and turned her idea into a reality. JR Agri Consulting aims to offer a professional service in the area of agricultural consultancy.
“Opening my own firm never crossed my mind initially when I secured my previous position,” Julie revealed.
“My degree is very broad so it opened up a lot of avenues for me. I looked upon the option of branching into other areas of the agricultural sector.”
“I even thought at times, I should make a total change, so I didn’t make this decision overnight.”
Julie enjoys the variety of her role and the interaction with clients. “At the end of the day, as a consultant, you are trying to help someone and I get immense satisfaction from that.”
“I have gained a huge amount of experience in this area although learning opportunities surround us daily.”
“Despite running my own firm, I can pick up the phone to talk to another consultant – we all communicate with each other and that’s the key.” She added.
Establishing your own business requires leadership skills, project management and planning, financial management, time management and knowledge of the marketplace, as Julie highlighted.
“There are major concerns when establishing your own business; you question what could happen if it is an unsuccessful venture.”
“As you mature and forge connections and get experience under your belt, you gain a lot of confidence." She added.
Women in Agriculture
Julie is a well-respected figure in the agricultural sector, having grown up on a farm and worked in the agricultural sector in many different capacities for nearly eighteen years.
Being a woman in agriculture has never been an issue for her; she is treated in the same way as her male counterparts.
“I have never been made feel that I am inferior in the agricultural sector because I am a woman.”
“I think it is important that women stop focusing on the fact that they are women.”
“It’s not about being a woman or a man – it’s a person doing the job. Sometimes, women, can get caught up on that idea.” She added.
Julie – a keen horse enthusiast – looks forward to growing her business and creating a close relationship with her growing client base.
“You often find that as time goes on, you may end up dealing with a father and the next generation of the family will maintain that relationship.”
“Agriculture is changing at a rapid rate with the upcoming CAP reform and environmental challenges.”
“I look forward to seeing how my position will evolve in relation to Nitrates, the improvement of water quality and sustainability.” She concluded.
If you are working in the agricultural sector and you want to share your story, email – firstname.lastname@example.org – with a short bio.