OFFALY MAN WINS FBD YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR

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OFFALY MAN WINS FBD YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR
01 Sep 2011

OFFALY MAN WINS FBD YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR

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Kevin Heavin, a dairy farmer from Ferbane, Co. Offaly, where he is secretary of the Ferbane branch of the IFA has been named the 2011 FBD Young Farmer of the Year. The announcement was made by Tom Arnold, chair of the final adjudication panel on Tuesday, August 30th at an awards ceremony in the Seafield Hotel, Gorey, Co. Wexford.
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Kevin has now won the top prize of a specially commissioned piece by Clare-based artist Erich Fichtner and a travel bursary worth €3,000. Substantial prizes were also awarded to second place winner Denis Finnegan from Cork and third place winner Colm Ryan from Clare. <br />
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Aoife Ladd, from Cork, received the Special Prize for Community Involvement from Pat Smith, IFA Chief Executive while Caroline O’Neill, also from Cork, was presented the Award for Innovation in Farming by Edmond Connolly, Macra na Feirme CEO.<br />
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Twenty five contestants from all over Ireland took part in the 13th FBD Young Farmer of the Year final. The competition, run by Macra na Feirme in conjunction with the IFA, aims to recognise excellence in the agricultural industry and promote farming as a career with a bright future. <br />
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Six overall finalists were interviewed by a judging panel chaired by Tom Arnold, Concern Worldwide CEO; with Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc; Willie Fahy, IFAC CEO; Joe Burke, Bord Bia; Joe Healy, Former Macra President; Seamus Phelan, Former Macra President and Pat O’Toole, Irish Farmers Journal. <br />
Macra na Feirme National President, Alan Jagoe, praised the enthusiasm of the farmers who had made it through to the national final, “Macra’s ‘FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards’ promotes excellence among young, progressive farmers and recognises their commitment to both the agricultural industry and their local communities. Last week we witnessed the increased demand for Agricultural Science courses in our colleges, the farmers entering this competition are a perfect example of the types of young people making a career out of agriculture. Farming is a challenging profession but it is important to highlight the fact that there are many highly educated and skilled young people choosing agriculture as a career and making a success of it. To capitalise on the potential of the agri sector as a driver of economic growth it is critical that the Minister for Agriculture directs supports at facilitating and assisting young farmers who wish to make a career out of farming”, he said.<br />
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Speaking at the event, Conor Gouldson, Group Secretary of sponsors, FBD said:  “For 13 years now FBD has sponsored this important showcase event for Ireland’s young farmers.  Their enthusiasm, energy and innovation is quite extraordinary and as ever they are a credit to themselves, to their educators and of course to their families.  Many of the previous winners and finalists of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year awards have gone on to leadership positions in Ireland’s farming and agricultural industry and we see them regularly consulted and quoted in the print media.  FBD was founded by people with vision and we are delighted at our continued association with this competition which celebrates and recognises excellence.  We congratulate all finalists on reaching this stage and we wish them all every success in their careers.”<br />
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IFA President, John Bryan, said, “The calibre of those who participated in this year’s competition underlines the exceptional talent that exists within farming. This cohort of farmers will be at the forefront of the expansion plans for the sector over the next ten years. It is critical that the Government facilitate their role in driving the agri-food sector forward by maintaining tax reliefs for the necessary restructuring, transfer and growth at farm level.  Teagasc must meet the challenge of providing education for young people planning to go into the agri sector, and use all available opportunities to disseminate technical and financial information to improve efficiency and competitiveness at farm level.”<br />
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ENDS
 

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