The search is on for Kilkenny's finest young farmers

County winners will also receive an award

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

The search is on

Joe Healy IFA President, Carolyn O’Hara FBD, Kevin Moran 2016 Macra/FBD Young Farmer of the Year and James Healy Macra na Feirme National President

Kilkenny's top young farmers have an opportunity to put their best foot forward with the search now on for the 2017 Macra na Feirme/FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

One of the most prestigious awards in the Irish agriculture sector, the competition sees young farmers involved in sectors such as beef, dairy, sheep and others (including horticulture, pigs, poultry, tillage) encouraged to enter. The winner of each sector will compete to be crowned the 2017 Macra na Feirme/FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

"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," says Macra na Feirme National President James Healy.

"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."

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," he said.

"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.

Who can enter?

Farmers must be: Under 35 on January 1, 2017 and a member of Macra na Feirme or the IFA; in involved in the running of the farm on which they currently work for a least three years, either full time or part time.

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 September 1.