Daniel Hawthorne, a 24 year old beef farmer from Monaghan took home the top prize as he was crowned the 2018 FBD Young Farmer of the Year. An active member of Newbliss Macra, Daniel was just one of many Macra members to be recognised for their achievements in their industry at an awards ceremony in Castleknock, Dublin. Sponsored by FBD and supported by the IFA and the National Rural Network, this was the 20th edition of the competition. The other major winners on the night were:
· Eamonn Keevers - Kinsalebeg Macra, Waterford (Dairy);
· Daniel Hawthorne - Newbliss Macra, Monaghan (Beef);
· Luna Orofiamma - Ramor Macra, Cavan (Sheep)
· Thomas Hayes - Thurles Macra, North Tipp (Other Enterprise)
· Maighread Barron - Dungarvan Macra, Waterford (Land Mobility)
· Linda Hanbidge-Cliffe - Baltinglass/Rathvilly Macra, Wicklow (Collaborative Farming)
· Louise Crowley - Crecora Manister Croom, Limerick (Best Emerging Female Farmer)
· Patrick Byrne - Tullow Macra, Carlow (Best Emerging Male Farmer)
· Raymond Langan Deel/Ardagh Macra, Mayo (NRN Biodiversity Award)
Macra na Feirme National President, James Healy, said, ‘The Young Farmer of the Year is one of the jewels in the crown of the Macra na Feirme calendar. It's a night where the farming industry comes together to recognise the brightest and best young farmers in the country. Congratulations to all our finalists and category winners especially our 20th Young Farmer of the Year Daniel Hawthorne.
Fiona Muldoon, CEO FBD Insurance said, ‘FBD Insurance plc continues to support this prestigious event for the young farmers of Ireland run by Macra na Feirme. Now in its 20th year, the nominees for the FBD Young Farmer of the Year award are the next generation of farming talent in Ireland. In these uncertain times, FBD Insurance knows the importance of supporting all Irish farmers to develop and future-proof our farming industry and Ireland’s rural communities. I know these Awards inspire young farmers to believe in themselves, embrace technology and build their farm businesses for the future. The team at FBD’s congratulates all 2018 participants and in particular well done to this year’s winner’.
The judging panel for the final was comprised of:
· Chair: Sharon McGuinness, CEO HSA
· John Donoghue, CEO IFAC
· Eoin Lowry, Agribusiness Editor IFJ
· Laurence Fallon, Past Macra President
· Dr.Tom Kelly, Director of Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc
IFA President Joe Healy said, 'The farmers of the future will have to be resilient, agile and adaptable. If this year’s weather events have taught us anything, it is that the ability to confront unexpected challenges will have to be in every farmer’s armoury. In its 20 year history, The FBD Young Farmer of the Year event has successfully drawn the best from the candidates and has always chosen a winner that represents everything that is good about the emerging talent in Irish farming'.
The aim of the competition is to recognise and reward the top young farmers in the country. Entrants are judged according to a number of criteria including farm business initiative and innovation, levels of farm efficiency and enterprise quality, farm safety and environmental protection awareness, as well as agricultural knowledge and community involvement.