CAROLINE Burke is challenging all stereotypes when it comes to her chosen career in farming. The 27-year-old woman didn't even contemplate another profession as it's all she was ever interested in, she says, despite only knowing one other full time female farmer.
She completed the two-year dairy herd course in Clonakilty Agricultural College back in 2008 and completed a six-month placement in New Zealand where she gained ‘invaluable experience.’ Returning home, she finished the course and headed next to Australia to satisfy both her desire to travel and broaden her farming experiences. Initially, Caroline worked on a potato and tillage farm before spending five years as herd manager on a farm with 1,000 cows, two hours north of Melbourne.
Returning home to Carhoogarrife, she took over management of an outside family farm near Timoleague, converting it from beef to dairy. This is her first year milking and, with 60 cows, she supplies Barryroe Co-Op and also helps out at the home farm.
As if all that wasn't enough, she is going into the third year (Level 8 Honours Degree) in Agriculture at CIT. Her immediate plan is to focus on grass management going forward and the ultimate ambition is to build up to a Jersey-cross herd.
- The winner of the Young Farmer of the Year award, sponsored by Drimoleague Concrete, will be announced at The Southern Star and Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Farming Awards presentation at 12pm on Sunday, September 24th, at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.