Kirree Kermonde is a name that is most certainly not unfamiliar to the Limousin cattle showing circle here in Ireland.
The 31-year-old Isle of Man native has made several trips across Irish waters since entering into the world of agriculture.
Her most recent venture to Irish soil has been to officiate as judge for the Irish Limousin Cattle Society Premier show and sale junior bull classes and older breeding females, in Roscrea Mart back in October of 2015.
‘I was privileged to be asked to judge such quality livestock at such a well-organised event. The afternoon saw brisk bidding with a fantastic clearance and luckily for me, prices matching most of the placed animals. You know you aren’t doing too bad when that happens!’ Kirree told That’s Farming.
Prior to this, Kirree has also had judging duties left in her capable hands for Irish Texel Sheep Society classes at the National Tullamore Show for two consecutive years, in 2014 and 2015.
‘I get very nervous and it can be very difficult to select winners when you are presented with excellent quality stock and superbly talented handlers, but I believe as long as you stick to your type all the way through it makes things a little simpler,’ Kirree explained.
The highly admirable stock-judging career takes Kirree right back to when she scooped the prestigious YLBC Anglo Irish finals title in 2012, where she was awarded best individual and team member alongside her brother Thomas and Jess Simms.
‘From this, I got a lot of encouragement and support. One person stood out, in particular, Paul Sykes, who not only devoted endless hours helping with the organisation of my journey but also gave me guidance and the confidence to return the following year. It is one of my proudest achievements,’ Kirree added.
While she is not occupied with stock-judging, the fifth generation farmer assists with the family’s large-scale mixed enterprise.
The 31-year-old is more than familiar when it comes to the stresses of the lambing season, having to face into the delivery of 2,000 lambs annually, from pedigree Texel, Charollais and Suffolk ewes, which are bred to Charollais and Texel rams.
In conjunction with the sheep enterprise, there’s a suckler herd comprising mainly Angus breeding females which are bred to terminal sires. The Kermonde’s main focus, however, is on the management of the family’s highly renowned Limousin herd, which is farmed under the Orrisdale prefix.
Ms. Kermonde has found herself filling the shoes as chairperson of Young Limousin Breeders Society, a member of Texel, Charollais, Angus and NSA societies.
‘Breed Societies and Youth Development programmes give a fantastic platform to young people to learn how to judge livestock; coming across a full selection of animals, the ability to master a judges’ opinion and the reason for selections. By participating in these workshops, it really helps when the time comes for the tables to turn,’ she adds.
However, Kirree does not plan to call it a day just yet, despite the fact she has numerous achievements and experiences under her belt.
Commenting on the importance of education in agriculture, she has plans to return back to college to further her education in the Agricultural Marketing area next year, which she believes will assist with carving out numerous future plans for expansion of the family farm.
‘In a male-dominated industry, I feel women have a very important role on livestock farms. We tend to be more organised, which brings stability and routine to a busy industry,’ Kirree explained.
‘Women can be surprisingly independent, strong under pressure and quite often can see things differently, taking an alternative approach to tasks. The maternal instincts certainly help with the areas of animal husbandry. The fact that farms are more mechanised, maybe there isn’t a need to be physically strong. Being a woman must certainly isn’t a weakness in farming’ she added.
Kirree plans to continue her work with various breed societies and youth development programmes over the next number of years, with intentions to open
a farm shop and café to sell produce fresh from the farm.
‘I believe that the best is yet to come. Never give up on those dreams!’ Kirree concludes.