Irish man gives up bank job to go farming

Sheep were targeted in a supposed sectarian paint attack

David Farrell, a former executive of Bank of America, gave up his well-paying day job to till the Irish lands.

Farrell, a 40-year old father of five, decided it was time he changed direction in his career and it was farming he turned to.

Farrell handed in his notice with the bank's Irish division after five years of service and enrolled in a farming course with Teagasc, the national body responsible for research, training and advice for the agri-food industry in Ireland.

Farrell signed up for the farming body's horticulture course at Dublin's National Botanic Gardens.

Farrell had the foresight to know that farming was the way to go.
According to Bloomberg Business week the Irish economy is reeling, jobs are scarce in financial services, and one of the few sectors that shows any promise is agriculture.

"There's a resurgence in producing food," says Farrell.

"It will become something people not only want to do but may have to do."

Teagasc is receiving record numbers of course applications.

Farrell's course had to reject 250 students seeking a place because of space restrictions.

Bloomberg Business report that enrollment for courses at Teagasc climbed to 1,128 this year, 45 percent more than in 2007, before the economy collapsed.

Farming is being revived.

"Farming and agrifood were totally lost during the boom. It just wasn't seen as sexy compared with property and financial services," says Jim Power, chief economist at Friends First, a Dublin financial-services firm.

"That's changing: High-value export industries like food are the future for us now."

"Farmers have become a respected profession again," says Power.

"And there's nothing else out there."