Are you Ireland’s top new entrant to farming?

Teagasc is looking for Ireland’s top new entrant to a farming business and the competition is open for entries from today, Friday, October 18.

The new entrant can have started a new farm business or have become involved in an existing farm business for at least two years.

The search is being carried out by ‘Newbie’ – a new entrant network which brings together new entrants, successors, advisors, researchers, important regional and national actors and relevant stakeholders in national networks.

Newbie aims to develop and disseminate new business models, including new entry models – from successors to complete newcomers to the agricultural sector.

Who are new entrants?

Newbie defines a new entrant as anyone who has started a new farm business or has become involved in an existing farm business. New entrants can range in age, agricultural experience and resource access.

No matter what stage of their working lives that new entrants enter farming, the challenges can be the same for all and might include: access to land; labour capital; housing; markets; knowledge; and the networks needed to acquire these resources.

Catherine Power of Glenkeen Farm

What does Newbie do?

Newbie will establish national discussion circles with new entrants and relevant stakeholders. The new entrant network will create a video channel with a library of inspiring new entrants’ visual stories from all participating countries.

Newbie will also provide opportunities for bilateral exchange of new farmers and advisors across Europe.

The Newbie New Entrant of the Year Competition

If you’re a new entrant to a farm business or have recently diversified your farming business you can enter the Newbie New Entrant Competition by filling out the entry form, which asks for some details on your farming business, the challenges you have faced and the plans you have for the future.

The entry form is available here

To hear some stories from new entrants to farming have a read below.

Catherine and Jim Power, Glenkeen Farm

Catherine Power grew up on Glenkeen Farm, which is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way. The farm is home to drystock cattle and sheep and now offers tourist activities such as group tours, visitor experiences, mountain hiking, sheep herding, traditional turf cutting, wool spinning and many more activities.

Having existing structures and livestock on the farm made it easier to set up the business. However, upgrades did need to be made to the farm – including a purpose built tourist facility – and capital investment was a challenge, as well as having little experience in tourism provided challenges.

Catherine tells her story in the short video below.

Teresa Roche – cheese manufacturing

Teresa Roche returned home from working as a nurse abroad to the family’s dairy farm, which has almost 100 cows.

On return, she set up Kylemore Cheese to add value to the milk produced on the farm. Teresa believes if she hadn’t made this move the family would have left dairy farming. She now believes she has secured the farm for the next generation and key to that success was the unique product that is fully traceable.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. Funding, the lack of profit in the beginning and the difficulty in hiring staff in rural Ireland were some of the challenges faced. Teresa also had to train in cheese making.

Pádraig O’Farrell – Dairy Farm Partnership

Pádraig completed a degree in agriculture before he set up a farm partnership on the family farm in 2015.

Pádraig attributes a large part of the success of the partnership to his father who, he says, has an open mind and already had a good infrastructure and the land in place before Pádraig joined forces with him.

Pádraig also has a good advisory network that he trusts.

One of the main challenges he faced was “changing the farm to be more in line with environmentally sustainable practices”.

He also added that business planning was a hurdle and that looking back he “should have asked more questions”.