Donegal woman journeys to Tipperary for farm management

As an almost 23-year-old farmer, who happens to be a woman, Danielle Stewart has been getting noticed. She was born to be a farmer, reckons the native of the coastal village of Dunfanaghy in north-west Donegal.

“I grew up on a mixed enterprise farm made up of dairy, beef, sheep and contracting. The size of the farm is 70ha which is fragmented over the village,” said Stewart who appeared on a panel of female farmers on The Late Late Show.

“My Dad, Francis, is working on the farm, with the help of my two sisters Sinead (19) and Fiona (18), and my mother, Agnes. From a young age I was farming. It is in my blood. There was no doubt in my mind that I would carry on farming when I was older.

I love working outdoors, and with animals, and this way I get to do both.

‘Farmer Danny’ as she is known on Twitter, attended Ballyhaise College in Co. Cavan. She completed a Level 5 certificate in agriculture and Level 6 in dairy herd management. She proceeded to do a 2-year course in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, studying for a professional diploma in dairy farm management.

The Donegal woman now manages a 150-cow dairy herd in Cashel, Co. Tipperary. “I find it rewarding but, like every job, it has its challenges. The biggest for me was machinery. I didn’t like it or drive it. I would get my sister Fiona to drive the tractor at home, if I needed it.

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“However, I stuck with it, and any farmer I worked for had great patience with me.

“I also went to New Zealand to work on a dairy farm, with 1,100 cows. This was a big challenge for me, as it was the first time that I was away from home for a long period of time – six months. I would be very close to my dad, and I missed the family,” she said.

Her plan for the future is to own her own herd of cows. “I will always come home to Donegal to farm with my dad. However, for now I want to get more experience working away from home and learning how other farmers run their business.”

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