Master of all trades, Catherina Cunnane, from County Mayo in Ireland takes great pride in introducing herself as a fifth generation farming enthusiast, never to be found straying too far from a pair of wellies or mart boots. With her farming love affair starting from the get-go her childhood memories roll back to calving her first cow and feeling inspired after returning home from agricultural shows and halter training calves.
Taking orphaned calves under her wing, before she had even been weaned off a bottle herself, her first responsibility on the farm came at the age of just five when her father allowed her to select the replacement heifers for their herd. Evading school to attend livestock sales, sitting with biro and cheque book in hand, she was never far from her father’s side. “It sure was worth it, as many a lesson was learned outside the four-walled classroom.” says Catherina.
Marts still dominate her Saturday agenda and rumour has it she become the recipient of the ‘Queen of the Ring-Best Lifetime Mart Attendance’ Award very soon. Today, all these years later Catherina is continuing to learn the ropes and all the possible tricks of the trade from my father Joseph, although she argues that he tends to learn a lot from her too! Together as a father and daughter, they own and manage a suckler and drystock production enterprise with Pedigree Aubrac cattle, their brown-eyed four legged bovine beauties, dominating the pastures.
Being a young lady of many words, Catherina can always be found at the heart of a conversation or a lively debate, regularly attending meetings, shows, sales, seminars and farm walks, sitting as a co-opted council member of the Irish Aubrac Society for a number of years now. When she is not found near a cow, she also works as a journalist for Thatsfarming.com, the online agricultural news portal.
This year Catherina went on to co-found a new and dynamic organisation called West Women in Farming Ireland. “I wear many hats at this stage and enjoy a challenge. The agricultural industry has allowed me to find a lifestyle where all my interests can come to fore. I couldn’t see myself doing anything but farming at this stage. I’m here to stay.” With intentions to branch on her own when time allows, Catherina feels proud to be an ag women. Fuelled with passion and enthusiasm, she has no plans to hang up her boots anytime soon.
Learning from previous generations is such a special part of farming. Whether it be a family member or a mentor, they have so much knowledge to share. Catherina, we love the diversity of your roles within agriculture and look forward to seeing where you go next!