Teagasc has announced that applications for the Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management Programme are now open and applications must be submitted by April 17.

The programme was developed by Teagasc in conjunction with UCD and in consultation with other stakeholders, in response to Food Harvest 2020 recommendations.

The course was designed for those intending to manage their own farms, intending to work as dairy farm managers or those seeking to enter dairy farming through a collaborative arrangement and eventually own their own herd or farm.

The first group graduated from the course last November and have gone on to work in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, or in Ireland as dairy farm managers, or as managers on their family farm.

“The Diploma in Dairy Farm Management is a Level 7 professional diploma qualification which is awarded by UCD and it combines key elements of the much respected former Farm Apprenticeship Programme with an approach that reflects the requirements of today’s dairy farming sector and current educational structure,” said Tony Pettit, Head of Education Teagasc.

Dr. Marion Beecher, programme co-ordinator, Teagasc, said there is a strong demand for technically skilled dairy farm mangers with experience.

“This course provides the necessary training to equip people with key skills to becoming a highly successful dairy farm manager either on your family farm, or as an employed farm manager”.

The core element is a two-year paid (€17,500) professional work experience with approved dairy farmers. Participants are required to spend 12 months on a Teagasc-approved host farm and then move to a new host.

There is also the option to spend 6 months’ work experience in New Zealand which is strongly recommended to maximise participants’ exposure to different concepts and approaches.

The contact element of the programme is delivered in blocks at the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark or Teagasc Kildalton Agricultural College.

Modules are delivered by an integrated team of highly specialised Teagasc staff including Moorepark Research staff, College lecturers, Dairy and Financial Knowledge Specialists, with inputs from guest lectures from the dairy industry and commercial dairy farmers. The programme also incorporates monthly discussion groups.

To be eligible for the course, students must have a minimum qualification of a Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture prior to the course starting. Applications are also welcome from Level 7, or Level 8 agriculture award holders.