Nicole Tuffy – who comes from a non-farming background - is a first-year Agricultural and Environmental Science student at Mountbellew Agricultural College/Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.
Studying Agricultural Science as a Leaving Certificate subject influenced the 19-year-old’s field of study. “I’ve always been very passionate about the outdoors and animals.” Nicole Tuffy told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
The Enniscrone, Co. Sligo native enrolled in the college’s level-8 Honours Degree programme – her first CAO choice - in September, following the completion of her Leaving Certificate.
“I selected this college due to its high reputation and on-campus farm and the work experience module,” Nicole explained.
“Candidates are awarded a valuable qualification once they complete the programme, with graduates carving out successful careers.”
The Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Agriculture and Environmental Management course – which Nicole is studying – provides candidates with a range of special skills for employment in the agricultural and environmental sectors, placing a strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture and sustainable development.
Students enrolled in this course complete modules in Agriculture; Environmental Management and Agri-Business.
“I’m enjoying the course. I love the practical elements; we carry out farm practicals four times a week.”
“For practicals, we are separated into small groups and we learn how to correctly carry out the necessary farm tasks needed for safe and efficient farming.” She added.
Along with lectures and field work, students also attend Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology where they complete laboratory practicals and undertake Information Technology modules.
Macra na Feirme
The Sligo native joined Macra na Feirme in September-2018 after moving to Mountbellew, Co. Galway for her studies as a way to cross paths with more like-minded people in her course and college.
“Macra gives the chance to part take in lots of different events and courses which I would have never been able to complete before joining!”
“I have met some of my best friends for life in Macra and I cannot wait to meet lots more! It is a great way to go to social events and meet people from all over Ireland.”
Nicole – who is the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Mountbellew Branch – was crowned the 2019 North-West Macra Queen in mid-January.
She represented Co. Galway in the competition and was paired with Mayo’s James O’Hara for the duration of the event. “James and I got on very well from the start and by the end of the day we felt as if we had known each other for years!” Nicole laughed.
“I would encourage everyone to join their local Macra Na Feirme Club! It is a brilliant social outlet for farmers and non-farmers alike and a great way to get up and get active”
“Macra provides you with skills and training to encourage lifelong learning and upskilling. It will be a great benefit to my future as it provides so many wonderful opportunities and opens lots of doors!” She added.
Women in Ag
Being a woman in the agricultural sector has never been an issue for 19-year-old Nicole.
She is of the opinion that the role of women in agriculture is not as understated as it has been previously in the past, but she believes there is scope for further acceptance.
“The number of qualified women farmers in Irish Agriculture is rising yearly bringing huge potential to the sector both in Ireland and abroad.” She added.
Looking forward, Nicole’s ultimate goals include graduating with an Honours Degree in 2022 before making her mark in the Agricultural sector, promoting Irish produce overseas. She hopes to further her studies in the future, by undertaking a Master’s degree.
“I want to work in the Agricultural industry as it is a well-established industry with lots of progression routes and job opportunities worldwide!" Nicole Tuffy concluded.
“My life as a young woman in agriculture involves lots of socialising, planning, organising and attending Macra events Attending Agricultural college full-time and spending time outdoors” – Nicole Tuffy.
If you are a woman in agriculture and you want to share your story, email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and you may be featured on That’s Farming next week.