20-year-old Fabian McCarthy is a fourth-year Agricultural Science student at Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT).
The Listowel, Co. Kerry native enrolled in the course following the completion of his Leaving Certificate in 2015.
“I studied agriculture science for the Leaving Cert which I really enjoyed and I saw that the ITT which is less than 30 mins from my home was running an Agriculture science course.” Fabian McCarthy told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
Drawn to the wide range of modules and the employment opportunities that are available to graduates, Fabian, a fourth-generation farmer applied through the CAO and secured a place on the level-eight degree programme.
Fabian spent his first year at Institute of Technology Tralee studying numerous science-related modules including animal; crop; food and environment sciences; this laid the foundations for his second and third-year studies.
In second year, he spent his second semester in Clonakilty Agricultural College where he attended a number of practical sessions.
In the second semester of his third year, the Kerry native completed a 12-week work placement with Capita Customer Solutions.
Fabian worked with the team of auditors who carry out farm inspections around Ireland; the firm provides an independent audit service on behalf of Bord Bia since they were awarded a contract in 2006.
“I learned about the process involved in reviewing the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) and Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) audits.” Fabian outlined.
“I also went on a few shadow audits with different auditors; this allowed me to experience an Audit from the Auditor Perspective.”
“Overall, it was a very worthwhile experience as it given me a good exposure to work life and I learned a lot of new skills.” He added.
Fabian’s striking passion to pursue his agricultural studies stemmed from his strong dairy farming roots.
Fabian and his father Patrick run a herd of 175 Holstein Friesian cows; 50 maiden heifers and 50 calves - Holstein Friesian and Jersey-crosses.
The Kerry farmers introduced Jersey genetics to the farm in 2017, with a view to improving milk solids. They installed a new 20-unit Fullwood Packo milking parlour a number of years ago and this has allowed them to increase the herd size and reduce the milking time.
“My main responsibilities on the farm are milking the cows; allocating and dividing paddocks for the milking cattle and I also do a lot of the topping of paddocks and spreading fertiliser.”
“I enjoy all aspects of farming such milking; grassland management; and looking after all the cattle. I love being outdoors.” Fabian explained.
Fabian believes that anyone with an interest in agriculture should “definitely consider” enrolling in a third-level agriculture course.
He believes that a degree is the key to unlocking various career opportunities and highlighted that further studies can assist and enhance one’s skill set and knowledge.
“Third-level agricultural courses provide candidates with a know-how which is vital to succeed in the industry. Agriculture offers a great way of life.”
Fabian will continue to work towards gaining a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science degree from ITT.
The Macra na Feirme member has a desire to carve out a career in advisory either as a milk quality advisor or a quality assurance auditor.
“I plan on going into the industry as there are a lot of exciting opportunities available to Agriculture graduates.”
“I might go travelling for a while to see other farming systems, even if that’s only for a few months before I return home and take over the family farm.” Fabian concluded.
If you are studying Agriculture or Veterinary at third-level and you wish to share your story, email - firstname.lastname@example.org - and you may be featured on That’s Farming.