Have you got what it takes to be the FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2018?

The search is on for the 20th FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

Organised by Macra na Feirme and supported by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), there are six additional awards on offer alongside the main prize in this landmark year for the event.

Young farmers involved in sectors such as beef, dairy, sheep and others (including horticulture, pigs, poultry and tillage) are invited to enter; the winner of each sector will compete to be crowned the 2018 FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

This year, there are also new feature awards for the Best Emerging Female Farmer, Best Emerging Male Farmer along with awards in Land Mobility and Farm Collaboration.

The Land Mobility Award will focus on farmers who display innovative solutions to accessing and utilising land for farming.

The Farm Collaboration Award will focus on collaborative farming arrangements that best demonstrate the benefits of collaborations such as long-term leases, registered partnerships, share farming, share milking and contract rearing for all parties involved.

There is also a new Biodiversity Award this year – supported by the National Rural Network.

The winner of the 2018 FBD Young Farmer of the Year will receive a travel bursary and the opportunity to experience farm practices abroad, while also developing their skills.

As in previous years, all county winners will also receive an award.

To be eligible to enter, farmers must be:

  • Under 35 on January 1, 2018;
  • A member of Macra na Feirme or the IFA;
  • Involved in the running of the farm on which they currently work for a least three years, either full-time or part-time.

Macra na Feirme national president James Healy said: “This is the 20th year of the FBD Young Farmer of the year competition.

“The longevity and growth in importance of this competition is thanks to the great support of our sponsor FBD, our partner the IFA and the calibre of entrants who make this competition such a prestigious event.

This is a great competition and it gives young farmers from all backgrounds an opportunity to showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired during their career to date.

“I encourage all young farmers to enter. It is a fantastic experience enabling you to share experiences and to make lifelong friendships along the way,” Healy said.

Chief executive of FBD Insurance plc Fiona Muldoon said: “FBD Insurance plc is pleased to again sponsor the 2018 FBD Young Farmer of the year awards and is proud to be associated with Macra na Feirme.

“As Ireland’s only truly Irish farm insurer, we are committed to supporting each generation of Irish farmers through research grants, education sponsorships, farm safety campaigns and prestigious competitions such as this one that strive for excellence in modern farming.

I expect we will have another keenly contested competition this year and a winner who represents all that is best about modern Irish farming.

Encouraging all young farmers to participate, IFA president Joe Healy also spoke, saying: “We have an abundance of talented young farmers in this country, in every sector.

“Macra has a long tradition of identifying and developing future leaders in the farming community, including through this competition.

“This is your chance to put yourself forward, expand your knowledge and be recognised for your hard work and ambition. Don’t be afraid to back yourself.”

People can nominate a young farmer for one of the categories or they can enter themselves by visiting the Macra website here.

The closing date for applications is Friday, May 18, 2018. County rounds must be completed by June 18, 2018, and semi finals will be held on July 18.

The final will take place on Tuesday, September 11, in the FBD Castleknock Hotel, Dublin.