Women in Ag: Olivia Carroll


24-year-old Olivia Carroll - a mother-of-one - farms in her own right and works at Gurteen Agricultural College

Women in Ag: Olivia Carroll

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  • 3 mths ago

24-year-old Olivia Carroll - a mother-of-one - farms in her own right and works at Gurteen Agricultural College

24-year-old Olivia Carroll from Coolbawn, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary is a mother-of-one, a third-generation farmer, a calf rearer at Gurteen Agricultural College and a relief milker.

“I have always been involved in farming - childhood memories include feeding calves after school or standing in a gap when moving cattle,” Olivia told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.

The family’s pedigree Charolais herd was dispersed fifteen-years ago in order to grow their dairy enterprise.

Once consisting of 50 Holstein cows, the herd now comprises of 80 British-Friesian-cross-Holstein Friesian cows; Jersey and Norwegian Red genetics are being utilised.

The 160-acre farm is also home to forty Hereford-cross weanlings which are sired by a stock bull and sold in a local mart after their second summer.

Olivia’s responsibilities on the enterprise include the general management of the farm, tasks such as vaccinating and tagging and administration.

Her father is a certified DIY AI technician, meaning that Olivia takes a prominent role on-farm during the breeding season. “When my father starts AI’ing cows, I milk in the morning before going to work.”

“I have two brothers who help out on the farm – one is working full-time on a dairy farm and the other is in school.”

Her father is a certified DIY AI technician, meaning that Olivia takes a prominent role on-farm during the breeding season. “When my father starts AI’ing cows, I milk in the morning before going to work.”

“I have two brothers who help out on the farm – one is working full-time on a dairy farm and the other is in school.”

Farming in her own right

Olivia also farms in her own right – a venture she embarked on after selling a pedigree Charolais-cross heifer for €2,300 when she was sixteen-years-old.

“The heifer wouldn’t go in-calf; I sold her at a fatstock sale and she was one of the heaviest animals presented for sale.”

She obtained her own herd number when she turned eighteen and utilised her funds to rent 12-acres. She farms ten Hereford bulls on this holding; they will be slaughtered when they reach twenty-two-months of age.

Calf Rearing and Relief Milking

Olivia works as a calf rearer at Gurteen Agricultural College for the past three years; she tends to the college’s 220 calves every year.

She also teaches students by demonstrating best practices when rearing calves. “This is enjoyable as you meet people from different places.”

After Olivia completed her second-level studies in 2014, she attended the college where she obtained a Level-6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Green Cert).

She completed her Transition Year work placement on the farm and then secured a position for the summer on the dairy enterprise – experiences which influenced her field of study.

“During college, I experienced a change in my life – I had my baby boy, Robert.”

“I completed my home placement and was milking on the home farm. With the help of my parents, I was well able to continue my work.”

“Robert is now four-years-old and is a great help on the farm – he shares my passion for farming,” she added.

The Tipperary native relief-milks for a local dairy with 180 cows from June onwards following the calf rearing period at Gurteen Agricultural College.

Women in Ag

Olivia – who was one of three finalists in the Corrib Oil Women in Farming Awards 2018 – is keen to encourage more women into the sector.

“If you want to be involved in agriculture, follow your heart – if it’s something you want, nothing should stop you.”

“My life as a woman in agriculture is not challenging – I am able to do everything my father or brothers can do.”

“Farmers are willing to share their knowledge with me. I have learned so much from working in Gurteen and purchasing cattle at the mart.”

Future Plans

Looking ahead, Olivia is in the process of obtaining her rigid licence, with a view to branching into livestock haulage.

“In addition to that, the plan is to rear more calves next year and hopefully down the line, rent a dairy farm, milking between 100-150 cows.”

“I wouldn’t rule out buying cattle at marts again.” she laughed.

“I wouldn’t refuse an opportunity to travel. I was on Holidays in New Zealand and I got the opportunity to milk on a farm over there.”

“It was an amazing experience and has sparked a desire to work on a cattle station in Australia for a fortnight - we will see how that works out,” concluded Olivia.

If you are a woman in agriculture and you want to share your story, email – catherina@thatsfarming.com – with a short bio.

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