Linda O’Neill

Linda O'Neill 2020 Nuffield Scholar

I grew up in Castletownbere in West Cork on a small dairy farm, and now based in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Following my Leaving Cert I went to Clonakilty Agricultural College to complete my Green Cert, I completed four years in college receiving a Diploma in Dairying and Certificate in Farm Business Management giving me a level 7 qualification. I have done numerous short courses since in business and computer skills.

Following this I spent two years in New Zealand, this was a huge eye opener into scale, business growth and people management. I came home in 2006 and was lucky enough to land a good opportunity as Farm Manager to convert a high input farm to grass based spring production which was Mt. Melleray Abbey in Cappoquin Co. Waterford. After six years and quota constraints I felt I had the farm taken to the targets that were set out at the beginning.

Following this I spent seven years working for LIC Ireland initially as a breeding advisor, my next role was in farm consultancy and my final two years as Sales Manager for Ireland.

I moved on in December 2018 to grow my own business in Dairy Farming. I am now in a 50/50 lease /partnership with Pat Ryan (Captal Farms) in Old Parish, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford currently milking 180 cows on an 80ha block. We began producing milk in February 2017, and we plan growing this to 200 cows and we will see from there if the land type can take more.

I’m currently Operation Manager in Cantwells Court Farm in Kilkenny with 500 cows, I also work closely with Captal Farms in supervision of the Dairy units.

I’m a member of the Shared Vision Discussion Group and currently Vice Chair in 2019. I’m also a member of the newly formed Demeter Discussion Group.

My study topic is:

No Farm, No Problem! Pathways for a Rewarding Career in Dairy Farming.

I plan to use my relevant previous experience of my existing farm lease as a base to explore from as I’m now in year three of that business start-up.

I would like to travel to South America, Asia, European countries and Canada as part of my Nuffield Scholarship.

No Farm, No Problem! Pathways for a Rewarding Career in Dairy Farming.