Siobhan Talbot

Managing director of Glanbia

Siobhan Talbot has overseen Glanbia’s ambitious growth plans after taking over as managing director in November 2013. The south Kilkenny native is the first female head of the company. Two weeks ago, Glanbia published a strong set of annual results for 2016, with a 13% increase in profits.

Anna May and Anna Marie McHugh

Managing director/secretary of the NPA; assistant managing director of the NPA and general secretary of the World Ploughing Championship

The first ploughing that Anna May got officially involved in was the 1954 event. She has worked for the organisation since then, overseeing the growth of the National Ploughing Championships, which welcomed 281,000 last year.

Her daughter Anna Marie has also taken on a leading role in the NPA and is currently the general secretary of the World Ploughing Championship.

Janet McCollum

Chief executive of Moy Park

Janet McCollum assumed the position of chief executive of Moy Park in January 2014 after 20 years with the company, which employs more than 12,000 people. Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s largest private sector employer and has recently been investing millions in new facilities.

When she took on her current role, Janet said there was room to grow the company’s share despite competition.

“While it is still competitive, it is no longer about selling on price – it’s about listening to the customer and understanding their needs.”

Fiona Muldoon

Chief executive of FBD

Fiona Muldoon took on the role of FBD chief executive in 2015 after a very difficult period for the company. However the company has since returned to profit, recording profits before tax of €11m in 2016, up from a loss of €86m the year before. She is the first female chief executive of FBD. At last year’s Women & Agriculture conference, she wryly said she “knows a thing or two” about being a woman in a man’s world.

“Irish farms have always had women in key roles. You are innovators and cheerleaders,” she said.

Anne Finnegan

AIB agri strategy manager

Anne Finnegan leads Ireland’s largest team of agri advisers in the banking sector, overseeing all farming loans at AIB. The team recently expanded due to demand with growth in the dairy industry.

Tara McCarthy

CEO of Bord bia

Previously a director of consumer foods with Bord Bia and CEO of Bord Iascaigh Mhara Tara McCarthy took one of the top positions in Irish agriculture as chief executive with Bord Bia last autumn.

Caroline Keeling

Chief executive officer of Keelings

Caroline Keeling has steered her family’s fruit company to a turnover of €300m after joining in 1994. Given that the third-generation business only launched its own Keelings brand in 2012, the turnover is impressive. The company’s headquarters are in Dublin, but it also operates in Britain, Europe and Asia, and employs around 2,000 people.

Darina Allen

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Darina Allen runs the renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School. She is a leader of the slow food movement in Ireland, led the farmers’ market movement, and is a member of countless food boards and councils. Along with her brother Rory O’Connell, she co-founded the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine.

Margaret Farrelly

Clonarn Clover Free Range Eggs

Cavan poultry farmer, Margaret Farrelly, grew her business from 150 hens in 1988 to 9000 laying hens and a turnover of €6.2m. In October 2016, she won the prestigious Innovation Award for Women Farmers in Brussels.

In describing her reaction to the win: “The shock turned to amazement for being recognised for doing what I take for granted. Tears well up when I think of it. I never had a vision of growing the business to what it is today. I just kept going, putting one foot in front of the other.”

Tracy Hamilton


Tracy Hamilton from Co Down runs Mash Direct with her husband Martin. The company, which was launched in 2004, now has an annual turnover of £14m. The farm has expanded from 230 acres in 2004, to over 1,400 acres today. The company has also focused on the export market, expanding its product range in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

Speaking to Irish Country Living about women in agriculture, Tracy said: “women need to shout louder. There are plenty of ladies working hard within the agricultural sector who are not receiving the exposure they deserve."


Ann Moore

Ann Moore of Glencash Farm in Co Cork won COPA European Innovation Prize for Women Farmers in 2011. Ann and her family faced considerable challenges when her husband David was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). However, the farm had to keep going and Ann wasn’t only responsible for much of the running of the farm, she also successfully expanded it. They expanded from 28 cows to 200 in just over 10 years.

Doreen Corridan

Farmer and vet

Those of you who watched our live mart demo at Ennis will recognise Doreen Corridan. The well-known vet and pedigree breeder is working with Munster Cattle Breeding in Mallow Co Cork and was on the ICBF board.

Briege Corkery

Farmer and Cork GAA star

Briege Corkery is a dairy farmer and multiple All-Ireland winner. She is currently trying to build her stock numbers and the plan is to go to 250 cows in five years, and she and her husband are also share-milking. She has spoken about being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and said seeing other women who are farming, at farm walks, and at discussion groups is important for moral support.


Thia Hennessy

Thia Hennessy is Professor and Chair of Agri-Food Economics at Cork University Business School and Head of the Department of Food Business and Development. Before joining UCC in September 2016, Thia Hennessy managed Teagasc's agricultural and environmental economic research programme and was responsible for the Teagasc National Farm Survey, which is now the benchmark for farm incomes across the different farm sectors.

Emer Kennedy

Emer is a senior researcher at Teagasc Moorepark. Her work primarily focuses on calves and grass, and is known for her study of colustrum management.


Mairead McGuinness


The Fine Gael MEP and European Parliament vice-president Mairead McGuinness was a presenter on Ear to the Ground and a journalist for the Farming Independent, but is probably most known for her work on the agriculture committee in the EU as one of the lead negotiators on CAP reform. Mairead was also the first woman to graduate from Agricultural Economics at UCD.

Marian Harkin


Marian is an Independent MEP for the Midlands-North-West constituency. She previously represented Sligo/Leitrim as a TD in Dáil Éireann and has worked on CAP policy at the European Parliament.

Rowena Dwyer and Catherine Lascurettes

Chief economist IFA; executive secretary of the IFA dairy committee

Rowena Dwyer is the chief economist of the Irish Farmers’ Association and provides analysis for the organisation on national economic and budgetary issues. She has also represented the IFA in negotiations with government.

Prior to joining the IFA, Catherine Lascurettes worked in IBEC’s food and drink federation. She has worked on the IFA dairy committee for the past 20 years.

Maura Canning

Chair of IFA farm family and social affairs committee

Maura Canning joined the IFA in 1993 when a branch was being established in her home parish of Mullagh. She has served as chair of IFA farm family committee since 2014. To help prepare for the job, she completed a Leadership and Politics FETAC Level 6 course through Galway Rural Development. As part of her role, she regularly speaks out about issues such as farm safety, PRSI contributions and women’s health.


Anne Randles

Company secretary, Ornua

Anne Randles was appointed company secretary of the Irish Dairy Board, now Ornua, in 2008. The Navan native has been tasked with helping to lead the company through challenging post-quota dairy expansion and the exploration of new markets. Anne also held the position of secretary general of Eucolait, the Brussels-based association for European dairy trade companies

Zoe Kavanagh

Chief executive of the National Dairy Council (NDC)

Zoe Kavanagh worked with PepsiCo for more than 16 years, and was general manager (Ireland-beverages) for almost four years before joining the NDC in 2011. The NDC is responsible for educating consumers on the role of dairy in their lifestyles and overseeing sustainable dairy production. She holds a BSc in Agriculture and Food Engineering from University College Dublin.

Karina Pierce

Lecturer in dairy production, UCD

Karina Pierce is one of the leading dairy researchers in the country. She is also a lecturer in dairy production in UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science and a former president of the Agricultural Science Association (ASA). She was appointed to the Teagasc Authority in 2013 – one of two women on the 11-member committee.

Valerie Kingston

Owner and creator of Glenilen

Farmer and entrepreneur Valerie Kingston started the Glenilen business by selling homemade cheesecakes for the local country market in 1997. The business has grown massively since, with its range of yoghurts and cheesecakes on sale in supermarkets nationwide.


Mairead Lavery

Editor of Irish Country Living

Before Mairead Lavery was editor of Irish Country Living, she represented the IFA on the board of the National Economic and Social Council. She is a former county chair of Limerick IFA and represented the county on the IFA executive council. She was also the first woman to chair Agri-Aware. Mairead spearheaded the Women & Agriculture conference and awards and launched Irish Country Magazine, Ireland’s best-selling women’s interest glossy magazine.


Deirdre O'Shea

Executive director of Agri Aware

Deirdre O'Shea was appointed executive director of Agri Aware in 2016. Agri Aware delivers public awareness campaigns for students and the general public, including the farm at Dublin zoo, lobbying for an improved agricultural science syllabus and education on CAP. She was formally the IFA's pigs committee executive. Age is no barrier for 27-year-old Deirdre, who told Irish Country Living: “Self-belief is a big thing. If you believe in yourself that you can do it, you can. And if you’re going into a job interview, passion, enthusiasm and a love for what you want to do is worth so much more."

Mary Delaney

President of the Agricultural Science Assocation (ASA)

Mary Delaney is the third female president of the ASA, which represents agricultural graduates and has around 1,600 Irish members. Hailing from Co Monaghan, she is currently head of equine at Glanbia Agribusiness and manages Gain Horse Feeds and worked for the company for 11 years. Speaking to Irish Country Living, she said the ASA organisation is “uniquely placed” to provide a platform for networking, knowledge sharing, discussion and debate for common concerns, like the impact of Brexit, while also supporting the professional development of members

Mart managers

Helen Kells

Helen Kells is the mart manager in Carrigallen Mart in Co Leitrim. The mart is one of the most active in the west and, under Helen’s direction, has positioned itself as one of the premier marts for suckler and weanling sales.

Lisa Keenan

Lisa Keenan is the manager of Kingscourt Mart on the border of counties Cavan and Monaghan. Lisa, who also auctioneers in the mart, was the winner of the Innovation On-Farm category at the 2013 FBD Women & Agriculture Awards. Lisa also runs a suckler farm in Co Meath.


Clodagh Cavanagh

Managing director of Abbey Machinery

Clodagh leads Abbey Machinery, which employs 80 people. The creator of the Cavanagh plough, the company is based at a €10m premises outside Nenagh, Co Tipperary, and is Ireland’s longest-established manufacturer of agricultural machinery.

Rosarie Crowley

Managing director of Cork Farm Machinery, Cork Machines and Kuhn centre

Rosarie took over the family business from her father in 2004. Based in Cork, the company is one of the leading retailers of agricultural machinery. She is also a council member of the FTMTA.

Evelyn Murphy

Marketing manager of Major equipment

Major Equipment Intl is a manufacturer and exporter of slurry tankers, toppers and mowers. Evelyn is the marketing manager of the company, which is based in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo.