Macra Young Farmer of the Year 2020 announced

This morning (Saturday, November 28) it was announced that Galway farmer Dara Killeen is this year’s FBD Macra Young Farmer of the Year.

Killeen is farming a dairy enterprise in Meelick, Co. Galway, in partnership with his father, and they are new entrants to dairy farming since 2017. They are a focus farm for Aurivo, whom they supply their milk to. Killeen and his father milk 150 high EBI cross-bred cows.

“It is a huge honour for me and my family to be awarded. I was lucky to take over the farm at a young age and it is great to reward the faith my parents have put in me,” Killeen said.

Macra na Feirme president Thomas Duffy said that Killeen demonstrates “all the best qualities of a young farmer: progressive; environmentally conscious; and quality focused”.

“Each contestant, throughout the competition, has instilled in me that the future of farming is indeed bright,” he added.

Chief commercial officer at FBD John Cahalan said he hopes that these awards “inspire the next generation of farmers to believe in themselves and to continue to build their farm businesses for the future”.

Tim Cullinan, president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) acknowledged the importance of our young farmers: “The lifeblood of any sector is the young people coming in and bringing in fresh thoughts and fresh ideas to the sector.”

First time ever as a virtual presentation

The Young Farmer of the Year final was held for its first time ever as a virtual presentation live on the Macra na Feirme Facebook page.

The awards, now in their 22nd year, are sponsored by FBD Insurance and supported by the IFA and the National Rural Network.

Macra na Feirme president Thomas Duffy thanked all that applied and participated in the competition.

The evening saw a number of awards recognising young farmers:
  • Dara Killeen of Galway won the Dairy category and took away the award for the Most Climate Change Conscious Young Farmer;
  • Maighread Barron of Waterford won the Land Mobility category;
  • Christopher Scally of Roscommon won the Dry Stock category;
  • Nicola Clarke of Cavan won the Other Enterprises category;
  • James Kiernan of Cavan won the Best Emerging Young Farmer Award;
  • David Fogarty of Kilkenny won the Best Young Farm Manager Award;
  • Joe Melody of Clare was awarded the Biodiversity Young Farmer of the Year Award.