‘Magnificent 7’: Great Agri-Food Debate continues momentum

The countdown is on for the fourth Annual Great Agri-Food Debate, with seven teams of agricultural science students currently in preparations for the big event.

Set to take place on Wednesday and Thursday, February 13 and 14 in Waterford, the agriculture-centred affair sees third level colleges put forth some of the best debaters among their agricultural science classes to hone their verbal reasoning and ripostes on farming topics.

This year’s event has seen an increase in teams for a second consecutive year with two teams from Northern Ireland set to make their debut next week.

The event will be hosted by Dawn Meats and McDonald’s Ireland.

Teams set to take part will include: University College Dublin (UCD); Cork Institute of Technology (CIT); Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT); Queens University Belfast (QUB); University College Cork (UCC); Institute of Technology, Tralee (ITT); and CAFRE, Loughry Campus.

Last year’s participant Dundalk Institute of Technology will not be taking part this year; however, IT Tralee will also be making its debut debate.

Six debates will take place over two days with the semi-finals and final debate on Thursday, February 14.

The judging panel will include industry leaders from finance, food safety, retail and agriculture such as: Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia; Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats; H.E. Deike Potzel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ireland; and Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

The motions to be debated in the semi-finals include: “Farm supports drive sustainable agriculture”; and “Farming in Ireland should be scaled back to meet climate change commitments”.

Meanwhile, the winning team will be determined in the final with the motion: “Vegan diets are better for people and planet”.

The showdown will be hosted by WIT in the Waterford Institute of Technology Arena. Each college will be represented by a team of six students.