Galway man wins AIB Teagasc Farm Business Plan Award

Damien McGrath, from Co. Galway, has won the AIB/Teagasc All Ireland Best Farm Business Plan Award.

The Mountbellew Agricultural College student was presented with the award in the Maldron Hotel, Co. Laois recently.

McGrath won the award for his interview and farm business plan which focused on converting from a suckler enterprise to a spring-calving dairy herd.

Investment has started and Damien plans to milk 64 cows in 2016, Teagasc says.

Speaking at the awards presentation, Patrick Butterly Agri Advisor AIB said the initiative places a strong emphasis on farm planning and financial planning, both key skills necessary for effective management in today’s environment.

“We have been impressed by the quality and standard of farm plans and by the confidence of the students we met today and indeed at each of the agricultural colleges,” he said.

Frank Murphy, Teagasc Curriculum Development and Standards Manager highlighted the emphasis Teagasc place on farm planning in their education programmes.

“While the removal of milk quotas and other reforms of EU policy have opened up many opportunities, the need for thorough planning was never greater as the speed of change and the volatility of world markets is realised.

“In essence, planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it. This farm business planning competition will help Teagasc students gain a better insight into the importance farm planning process,” he said.

Seven students represented the respective Teagasc, Greenmount and private agricultural colleges and competed for the All Ireland Award, after each had won the individual college award.

The finalists were: Craig Barkley (Greenmount); Martin Healy (Kildalton); Damien McGrath (Mountbellew); Bryan Moore (Clonakilty); Louise Crowley (Pallaskenry); John Delaney (Gurteen) and Darren McGourty (Ballyhaise).