A spring-calving dairy farmer from Co. Sligo has been named the FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2022.

Christopher Tuffy, who farms alongside his parents, partner Eimear and baby Iarlaith, beat a competitive field to lift the coveted cup in Cork, last night (Tuesday, November 29).

Tuffy, who also plays football with Enniscrone/Kilglass GAA, leases a 150ac farm and is milking in the region of 155 cows currently. The focus on his dairy farm is on grass, and producing milk solids from grass.

He is the fourth member of the West Awake Discussion Group, which has been running since 1999, to win the Young Farmer of the Year award.

The FBD Young Farmer of the Year awards are organised each year by Macra in partnership with the IFA and attract a substantial number of entries from around the country.

The chair of this year’s judging panel, ex Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and ex Macra president Joe Healy, said there had been “an extremely high standard from all the contestants at semi-final and final level”.

“Their knowledge, and positivity, towards the challenges and the opportunities in Irish agriculture was second to none,” he said.

FBD Young Farmer of the Year

Earlier this year the winner of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2022 told Agriland that hewas very lucky to get the opportunity [he] got”.

“There are so many young farmers that aren’t going to get that chance. I think young farmers should be given opportunity to have a go,” Tully said.

He had originally completed the dairy herd management course at Kildalton Agricultural college and then spent some time in New Zealand but when he returned Tuffy was certain he wanted to farm on his own.

Tuffy then got an opportunity to lease a 150ac farm and with family support, decided to “go for it”.

“People tell me now it was fairly brave, but looking back it was more brave on my father’s behalf,” he told Agriland for a Dairy Focus interview.

“My father took all the risk; I had nothing to lose, I was only 20 at the time.

“He backed me all the way and still plays a major role in the operation. I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am today without his backing.

Read more about Christopher Tuffy’s farm system in Co. Sligo in his Dairy Focus here.

Both Tomás Ó’Midheach, chief executive officer of FBD Insurance, and John Keane, president of Macra, praised Tuffy’s “hard work, passion and dedication” as he accepted the award in Co. Cork last night.

Christopher Tuffy, accepting the FBD Young Farmer of the Year award Source IFA

Ó’Midheach said he hoped that the awards would “inspire the next generation of farmers to build strong and sustainable farm businesses for the future”.

Meanwhile, Keane said Tuffy had demonstrated “the skills and knowledge that it takes to be the pinnacle of Irish agriculture”.

“I know that Christopher will inspire many young people to become farmers for the future but also to inspire those already farming to improve and develop,” Keane added.