The search has begun for the 'Young Farmer of the Year'. Farmers aged under 35 involved in sectors such as beef, dairy, sheep and others (including horticulture, pigs, poultry, tillage) are encouraged to enter and the winner of each sector will compete to be crowned the 2017 Macra na Feirme/FBD Young Farmer of the Year.
Macra na Feirme president James Healy said: "The Young Farmer of the Year competition has gone from strength to strength since the inaugural competition in 1999 thanks in no small part to sponsors FBD and our partners, the IFA. 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.’
Fiona Muldoon CEO of FBD said: "FBD is delighted to continue our sponsorship of this flagship event in the farming calendar. 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."
IFA president Joe Healy encouraged young farmers to participate and test their training and capabilities among the best in the country.
"Based on the increased numbers going through the agriculture colleges in recent years, we have a wealth of talent in the sector. 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. 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.ie/youngfarmer. The closing date for applications is 1st of September 2017.
Who can enter?
Farmers must be: Under thirty five on the 1st January 2017 and 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
All 2016 county winners and all past ‘Macra na Feirme FBD Young Farmer of the Year’ winners are ineligible to enter – all other entrants from last year and previous years may enter the competition.
Closing date for applications is 1st September 2017. County rounds will be completed in early September and the final will take place at the end of November.