THE new Systems Manager for Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) Ireland says that his series of Northern Ireland visits with farmers over the coming months will feature discussions around environmental sustainability, feed efficiency and efficient cows, as the business continues its drive to improve the quality of the national herd.
John Tobin, who has returned from working in the agricultural sector in New Zealand, has taken up the role with the Tipperary-based herd improvement company LIC Ireland.
He will be focusing on the management of LIC Ireland’s bull breeding programme and delivering LIC’s nationwide service of pasture-to-profit consultancy, which aims to add value to farmers looking to improve the sustainability of their business.
The Kilkenny native, who has spent the last seven years in NZ, is now based at the LIC Ireland headquarters at Cahir in Tipperary, just 30 minutes from where he was raised on a dairy farm.
A former Teagasc employee – at Kildalton Agricultural and Horticultural College and Moorepark’s Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Fermoy – John has a passion for both farm and milk production efficiency.
In NZ, John gained vital agri-banking experience with sector giant, the ASB Group.
More recently while in NZ, as an animal nutrition consultant with Nutritech Limited, he provided consultancy advice to dairy and beef farmers, agri-contractors and feed mills. He says his favourite role in NZ, however, was with LIC where he won a number of awards while a Farm Solutions Manager in Northland. In this role, he also worked with the breeder of Integrity, one of LIC’s top jersey bulls, which is an Irish favourite better known as OKT. Integrity was introduced to the LIC Hall Of Fame earlier this year.
John was first introduced to LIC when he took on the management role on a 650-cow herd in Whangarei in the North Island. The herd was belonging to an NZ director of LIC.
John will be travelling nationwide over the coming months to meet with farmers and gain insights into their needs, while answering questions they have about breeding solutions.
“Managing a 650-herd farm through an arid New Zealand summer during a drought was certainly a challenging experience. A far cry from the lush paddocks of Kilkenny, but with careful planning and diligent execution, you can get through these conditions when your genetics are right,” John said.
John has returned to live in Ireland with his wife Christine and children, Jack (3) and Henry (10 months).
“It’s great to be back home again, especially seeing the children settle into a great part of the country with our families. New Zealand is an incredible country and there is so much I have learned from their operations, but it was always our plan to return home,” he said.
LIC Europe Manager Mark Ryder said John brings vast dairy farming experience and knowledge to the role, which would benefit LIC customers immensely. “His experience in NZ, as well as his Irish farming experience – teamed with his knowledge of herd improvement – makes him a great addition to the team.”
John said that he hopes to build on the LIC Ireland bull breeding programme and meet as many farmers as possible in the coming 12 months. “Our focus is on environmental sustainability, feed efficiency and efficient cows. Turning grass into milk as efficiently as possible for farmers is the driver for LIC Ireland. “We are keen to hear from dairy farmers about what they need and I invite farmers to get in touch,” he said. John Tobin can be contacted on +35386 4107786 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org