Catherine McKenna, 26, works on her family sheep farm in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
Farming has always been an integral part of my life and growing up on our family sheep farm in County Tyrone Northern Ireland, I have developed a strong passion for farming and connecting the dots from farm to fork.
I studied Chemistry at University of Glasgow and got really interested in the drinks industry while over there.
I was working in a beer company in November 2019 when I decided I wanted to come home and help set up for lambing 2020.
Having studied my degree, I see the links between chemistry and the animals, grass, soil, and crops.
My favourite time during the farming year is lambing so I was excited to plan and manage our lambing this spring.
My father taught us the skills and techniques needed during lambing as well as the “tell-tale” signs for when problems arise.
You really do pick up a lot of information by listening and watching those who have farmed before us.
During lambing 2020 we recorded and tracked a lot of information.
By doing this we can look back, analyse every year and plan for a better future.
We recently converted to an organic system, we produce lamb, forestry and are starting to introduce crops for the future.
Our goal is to build the flock up by establishing good animal health and better results during lambing. In the future I aim to use recording technology such as EID tag systems and grass counting.
This information can really help with the planning as efficiency is something we want to improve on.
I am currently studying at CAFRE towards a master’s in business for Agri Food and Rural Enterprise.
This course was always an option for me as I am interested in the Agri business and people’s perceptions and attitudes to agri-food.
I want to mention the community of farmers on Instagram as they do such a great job supporting one another.
There are farmers sharing their tips and tricks all year round.
Farming can be very isolating work and being able to interact on social media is a great way to better our mental health especially when we all work so far away from each other.
I am really looking forward to my farming future.
People will always need good, food products and I believe if we can show people how important quality is in what they eat, farming will be appreciated more by the general public.