Being an FRS operator is a uniquely flexible role, which suits many people seeking outdoor work in agriculture, such as young people looking for experience, those looking for full-time, part-time or flexible roles, and also, students looking to come on work from abroad like Patrick Haennig.
Born in France, Patrick grew up on a dairy farm in a small village at Gommersdorf. Since childhood, he has spent all his time on the farm. He has a great work ethic, so it was no surprise when he chose to study agriculture.
“Farming was something I grew up with. My father milks 50 Holstein cows in a “2X4” Westfalia (GEA) herringbone parlour. I also got experience working on two other French farms; one with two Lely dairy robots and the other with a similar set up to my home farm. To study agriculture and learn more about the industry was always something I wanted to do.”
Life in Ireland
It was through the pursuit of his Masters Degree that Patrick found he had the opportunity to take part in a work experience programme abroad. Looking for a 3-month placement, Patrick decided to experience dairy farming in Ireland. He found FRS Farm Relief to be ideal for his situation.
“Ireland is a beautiful county and somewhere I always had in my head to visit. I wanted to better understand the dairy industry here, the systems, milk quota etc. Then I looked up online and came across FRS on an internet forum. I contacted them via application, and they were in touch quite quickly. We had a Zoom call, it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. We planned for my arrival at the end of May.”
Patrick was placed in the Limerick office under the wing of Manager Liam O’Rourke. Liam organised placement on a local Croom farm. Milking 175 Holstein and Jersey crossbreed cows in a 14-unit parlour, Patrick got to experience a different style of farming.
“The farm I was placed on does Spring calving and maximises the use of grass. The cows are the same but the whole system is different. Here in Ireland, it is very pasture based. In France there is more of a focus on using silage, feeding with maize. Even the landscape is different.”
Working on an Irish farm has given Patrick the chance to experience not only new systems but also farm tasks.
“Working with the farmers and another farm worker, milking starts at 6.30am. Followed by breakfast and then every day is different. Sometimes I would move wire for cows, measure grass, spread fertiliser, or any other general farm work. It’s great to have a such diversity in terms of jobs. I really like the cows, prepping the paddocks and generally making sure they are ok. I was here for silage making too which was great to see, but thankfully we only have to cover the pit once a year.”
As is it a work placement for his Masters, Patrick has also been able to make the most of his time in Ireland with the help of Liam O’Rourke. Together they have gone to the Charleville Show, IHFA Open Day and Kerry Agri Feed Mill. They also visited FRS Herdwatch HQ, SAMCO, Dairymaster Global H.Q. And last on their list was TEAGASC Moorepark and Salesian College, Pallaskenry.
“I have been very lucky to be able to visit such a vast number of shows and agri-businesses, it has been very interesting to see. I found Dairymaster particularly interesting as I got to see all the things they do and how the system I am using everyday was made. It was great to experience to have.”
Advice to others
Patrick has now completed his 3-month placement and heads back into his final year in college. For the future travel is still on his mind as he hopes to head to New Zealand to see their dairy set up. However, for anyone looking to complete work placement or learn about Irish Agriculture Patrick gave the following advice.
“If you want to see a different system in another country, Ireland is perfect for that, especially if you want to learn about dairying. It is really interesting and there is so much to see and learn. Having some milking skills and English has helped, but overall, it has been a great opportunity. I would recommend it to anyone thinking about doing the same.”
Message from FRS
Delighted to be able to help Patrick learn and experience Irish farming, FRS Farm Relief Manager in Limerick, Liam O’Rourke added, “Patrick proved to be an excellent example of what is expected of a young person seeking dairy farm work experience in Ireland. He has set a very high standard for all future work placement candidates.”
FRS Farm Relief are the leading employers of farm workers onto farms across Ireland and are seeking additional workers to join their growing teams.
Patrick is just one of the many European FRS operators across the country. If you are interested in becoming an FRS operator visit www.farmrelief.ie/careers and fill out an application form online or alternatively you can call 0818 890 890.