Despite not growing up on a farm, Niall Lynch has been passionate about agriculture from an early age.
He began exhibiting cattle at agricultural shows when he was 10-years-old and is quick to reveal that John McEnroe, Oldcastle, Co. Meath has had a major influence on his life and career path.
"I really got into the showing side of things through my dad who used to bring me to John's farm." the Kells, Co. Meath native told That's Farming.
"My father and grandad always kept a few cattle with friends for showing."
"I can’t thank the McEnroe family enough for all they have done for me over the years," he added.
Studies and career
After his Leaving Cert, Niall studied Agriculture at Ballyhaise College before undertaking a 3-year farm management course at Kildalton College.
In the last 18 months, he has returned to Irish soil following a period in Scotland. While overseas, he secured the position of head stockman at Fordel Angus.
He later progressed to the role of farm manager which involved overseeing the 400-cow pedigree herd. "We ran a tight spring-calving system from mid-March to mid-May."
"Our breeding season was only 9 weeks which in the first 3 weeks we AI'd on average 150 cows to natural heats and also implanted about 50 embryos per year."
"About 60 bulls were sold each year for breeding with the remainder offered for sale as store bullocks."
In addition to this, approximately 80 heifers were integrated into the herd each year with an additional 50-100 females exported for breeding purposes.
Now residing in Raclaghy, Mount Nugent, Co. Cavan, Niall is employed as a stockman at the Gigginstown Angus herd and continues to assist John McEnroe.
He has also been recently appointed as the Aberdeen-Angus regional YDP co-ordinator for Ireland.
Four regional coordinators are based throughout the UK and Ireland along with an overall co-ordinator and the CEO of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society.
Niall works closely with Tina Russell - the overall YDP co-ordinator and with Barrie Turner - the CEO of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society.
"Both Tina and Barrie have been a great help to get me started this year," he admitted.
His main responsibilities include booking and planning a series of regional workshops and enlisting the help of trainers for the individual disciplines at each event.
Other duties include promoting each workshop and registering participants; he also has the added responsibility of helping organise the YDP finals which are being held in Ireland.
Open door policy
"The most challenging part of the role this year is creating links with the participants as this is my first year."
"I am also trying to freshen up the workshops a bit by introducing new trainers and having nutritionists come in and have a chat with the participants."
"I also want an open door policy with everyone who has an idea about how we can improve the overall Youth Development Programme," he added.
He is of the opinion that it is paramount that young people attend their local breed club meetings and bring their ideas to the table to "keep these networks alive".
"It is very important for young people to get involved with breed societies as they are the future."
"I know it’s hard to get your voice heard when you are young but from my own experience persistence pays off and they will start listening," he advised.
"I have been involved with the breed from a young age and I view this as an opportunity to pass on my skills and knowledge to the young stockpersons in the country."
- June 29th - John McEnroe, Liss, Oldcastle, Co. Meath;
- July 26th - Mack Crowe, Broomstreet, Mohill, Co. Leitrim;
- July 27th - Shane Healy, Bengour West, Newcestown, Bandon, Co. Cork;
- August 10th - John Blackburn, Clogher, Co. Tyrone.
"Anyone between the ages of 8-24 involved in any breed can attend the workshops and be eligible to take part in the finals weekend if selected from the workshops."
"Whether you’re young and inexperienced and would like to learn more about working with cattle or you’re already working in the industry, the workshops and programme can provide you with exactly what you’re looking for."
"You will get the opportunity to work with people within your age group, make friends for life, gain experience and have fun along the way," Niall concluded
At the finals weekend, there is an overall winner in junior, intermediate and senior sections.
The senior winner will receive a travel bursary to study agriculture anywhere in the world with previous winners venturing to America, New Zealand and Argentina.
For further information, contact Niall Lynch via email - firstname.lastname@example.org - or phone - 083-8959478.
Image source: Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society \ Website