Opinion: Could farming news be your future career path?

The demand for farming news continues to increase at an insatiable rate, both here in Ireland and further afield.

Farmers want to know what’s going on within their industry while the general public want to know more about how their food is actually produced.

And it’s the job of agricultural journalists to provide this service.

And for those of you who might think this is an exciting challenge, let me nail that very important point right now – it is.

One quick example should be sufficient to bear out the point just made.

Importance of farming and farming news

It has been very correctly pointed out by world leaders and international opinion formers that farming will be at the very heart of every positive step the world makes when it comes to addressing the challenge of climate change.   

Throw in the equally important need for agriculture to meet the world’s fast-growing food security requirements and it all adds up to very exciting times indeed for those involved in the world of farming news and media.

I have been a farming journalist for 30 years. Every day was, and continues to be a good day. Yes, I have always had a tremendous ‘grá’ for all matters farming.

But all of that pales into total insignificance when I consider what the industry has taught me over the past three decades.

Agriculture has, and always will be, at the cutting edge of new thinking and new technologies.

So if one puts that into the context of farming being Ireland’s largest and most important indigenous industry, it’s hard not to conclude that the sector has many, many career opportunities to offer young people.

Encouraging agri-journalism

Upon accepting the role as president of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland, I made one over-arching commitment.

And that was to encourage as many young people as possible to consider a career in agricultural journalism.

As a profession, my colleagues both cover the news taking place within agriculture, while also helping to shape the great debates evolving within the sector.

Earning a crust as a farming journalist is taken as read. But that’s just scratching the surface. The opportunities to travel and meet new friends in countries around the world are also immense.

It’s all great fun – take my word for it.

The number of specific media opportunities for agri-journalists is also expanding at an inordinate rate.

Gone are the days when newspapers, journals, radio and television were the scope of our aspirations. Today digital related activities are equally important, relative to the more traditional print and broadcast outlets.

And, of course, if you can ‘hack’ it as a farming journalist in Ireland, you can travel the world with such a proven skills base.

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