FBD Young Farmer of the Year opens for entries

The 2016 FBD Young Farmer of the Year is now open for entries and farmers in all enterprises are being urged to enter by Macra na Feirme.

The aim of the competition is to recognise and reward the top young farmers in the country in all sectors.

There is an overall €3,000 travel bursary for the winner and also prizes for the top young beef, sheep, dairy, tillage and other (pigs, poultry, horticulture) farmers.

Entrants will compete against other farmers in their enterprise category to be crowned the winner in their prize category and be in the running to be the 2016 FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

Macra National President, Seán Finan, said that if you’re an ambitious young farmer with at least three years experience, you should enter and fly the flag for your enterprise.

The competition, now in its eighteenth year, boasts prizes for all farm sectors as well as the prestigious top prize of a travel bursary and title of FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

A representative from each enterprise will be chosen in every county and they will benefit from a targeted regional technical day for their sector, Macra says.

There they will develop their specific skills and compete against their counterparts from other counties.

Finan said that this is a wonderful competition and he would encourage all young farmers to enter as it provides young farmers with an invaluable experience and learning opportunity.

“As a previous county winner I found that participating in the competition offered a once off chance to meet fellow young farmers, learn from their experiences and to share knowledge with each other but most importantly identify ways to further grow and develop your farm business.”

The competition was launched this week by organisers, Macra na Feirme, sponsors FBD and partners, the IFA, with the help of the current FBD Young Farmer of the Year, Jonathan Marry, a pig farmer from Louth.

FBD Head of Farm and Business, Christy Doherty, said that FBD has been fostering the next generation of Irish farmers for over 45 years and is delighted to continue its sponsorship of this showcase event now in its eighteenth year.

This is an exciting time for young farmers as they strive to meet the increasing global demand for Irish produce.

“We expect to see the proof of this growth and development reflected in what will hopefully be a record number of excellent applicants.”

IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin said that he has no doubt that there is a huge reservoir of young farming talent in this country, which needs to be nurtured into the industry.

“For the future, a viable income will be very important to attract the calibre required to drive the sector forward.

“The next Government will have to address this issue. My message to young farmers out there is to participate. Being involved has never been more important.”

Entrants are judged according to a number of criteria including farm business initiative and innovation, levels of farm efficiency and enterprise quality, farm safety and environmental protection awareness, as well as agricultural knowledge and community involvement.

Young farmers can also be nominated for the competition.

Forms are available from Macra na Feirme national office by phoning 01 426 8900, from your local IFA or FBD offices, and for download on the Macra website.

The closing date for applications and nominations is April 8, 2016.