Owen Cashman from Glanmire is one of six third level Agricultural Science students in the country to receive a Professional Work Experience (PWE) travel bursary, which is designed to encourage students to broaden their knowledge and travel internationally, to gain experience in the global agri-food sector.
The recipients were officially announced by the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) and the Irish Farmers Journal on Tuesday last.
Owen, who is a third-year Agricultural Science student in UCD, is really looking forward to the experience. The bursary, sponsored by UCD and the Irish Farmers Journal, will permit Owen to travel to Missouri in the USA in January where he will undertake a dairy placement with Emerald Dairies.
Speaking about the opportunity Owen said, “With lows of -17 degrees Celsius in early spring and highs of 30 degrees Celsius in May before we leave, it will be interesting to see how a grass-based system manages with these extremes first hand. Following the drought of 2018 in Ireland, there may be some learning opportunities that can be applied at home from Missouri”.
Owen will be leaving Ireland for Missouri on January 28 with plans to begin his work placement at Emerald Dairies in the first week of February.
Emerald Dairies is a dairy farm run by fellow Corkman Niall Murphy and six UCD students, including Owen, will be spending four months helping out at the farm which has a herd of 400 Jersey-cross cows.
“I’ll be there for the calving and the breeding season and I’m interested to learn how they manage the cows and the grass in the extreme weather conditions,” Owen told The Avondhu.
Owen comes from a dairy farm in Glanmire where they currently milk 84 Holstein-Friesian cows.
“The scale of the farm in Missouri is something that I won’t have experienced before and I’m hoping that the I will be able to bring the skills I learn out there home and implement them in my career going forward,” said Owen.
2019 sees the fourth year of this joint initiative, in which the ASA and Irish Farmers Journal reward third-level students who demonstrate an interest in fulfilling the work placement segment of their degree overseas. Two students from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) will also receive bursaries, which are supported by Glanbia and Seedtech respectively.
Amii McKeever, ASA President, said that the standard of applications this year was very impressive, and that the team are excited to hear updates on how the six selected students develop in a personal and professional capacity over the coming months.
Anthony Jordan, Careers Editor, Irish Farmers Journal commented, “It is a pleasure to partner once again with the ASA to award travel bursaries to select agricultural science students. This is a fantastic opportunity for third-level students who will gain real-life experience overseas in the agriculture industry, and can build on their existing knowledge of the Irish landscape which will provide them with a truly unique perspective and advantageous career development. We look forward to sharing their stories in the coming months.”