Have you got what it takes to become the Macra/FBD Young Farmer of the Year?

The search is currently on for the 2017 Macra na Feirme / FBD Young Farmer of the Year, with candidates from all over the country encouraged to apply.

Young farmers involved in the beef, dairy, sheep, horticulture, pigs, poultry and tillage sectors are encouraged to enter.

The winner of each sector will then compete to be crowned the overall 2017 Macra na Feirme / FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

In order to enter, farmers must have been under 35 years old on January 1, 2017; they must also be either a member of Macra na Feirme or the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Applicants will only be eligible if they have been involved in the running of the farm on which they currently work for at least three years, in either a full-time or part-time capacity.

Meanwhile, all 2016 county winners and all past ‘Macra na Feirme / FBD Young Farmer of the Year’ winners are ineligible to enter.

Friday, September 1, has been set as the closing date for applications. County rounds will be completed in early September and the final will take place at the end of November.

‘A fantastic showcase’

The competition has grown in strength since it was established in 1999, according to Macra na Feirme National President, James Healy.

This is thanks in no small part to the competition’s sponsors FBD, as well as its partners the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Healy added.

The competition is a fantastic showcase of the enormous talent and potential that exists within the Irish agriculture sector.

“It also provides recognition and encouragement for young farmers at the beginning of their careers. I would encourage all our young farmers to put themselves forward for what will be a very rewarding and educational experience,” he said.

FBD is delighted – yet again – to sponsor this flagship event in the farming calendar, the CEO of FBD, Fiona Muldoon, explained.

“FBD is proud to foster the next generation of Irish farmers through competitions such as Young Farmer of the Year.

“Every year this competition reflects the strength and depth of the new talent emerging in the Irish agriculture sector and I am confident this year will be no different,” Muldoon said.

‘A wealth of talent in the sector’

Meanwhile, the President of the IFA, Joe Healy, believes that there is a wealth of talent in the sector based on the increased numbers attending agricultural colleges in recent years.

The great thing about the Young Farmer of the Year competition is that it provides an opportunity to get involved and it allows entrants to pit their farming skills and vision against others.

The winner of the 2017 Macra na Feirme / FBD Young Farmer of the Year will receive a travel bursary and the opportunity to experience farm practices abroad while developing their skills.

There will also be a new ‘Future Farmer’ award this year, for an emerging young farmer under the age of 23 years old. As in previous years, county winners will also receive an award.

You can nominate a young farmer for Young Farmer of the Year or you can enter yourself by visiting Macra na Feirme’s website.