Pat O’Neill, a farmer from Carrick on Suir, is among the finalists in the Macra na Feirme FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition - the winner of which will be announced tonight (Tuesday).
Pat is a member of Slievenamon Macra and is a mixed farmer from Carrick on Suir, Co. Tipperary. He holds a fetac level 5 in agriculture from Kildalton agricultural college. He is a new entrant to dairy farming and has plans for increasing his herd.
He is joined in the final by Dermot O’Connor from Limerick, William Morris from Carbery, James Hoey from Louth, Christopher Tuffy from Sligo and Graeme Martin from Monaghan.
They now face a gruelling interview with the final judging panel this afternoon (Tuesday).
The judging panel includes: Chair - Padraig Walshe, Former President of Macra na Feirme, the IFA and COPA; Dr. Karina Pierce, Lecturer in Dairy Production in UCD and President of the ASA; Willie Fahy, IFAC CEO; Joe Burke, Bord Bia; Joe Healy, Former Macra President; Paul Maher, Teagasc Advisory Services; and TJ Maher, Former President of Macra na Feirme.
The aim of this prestigious competition, run by Macra na Feirme in partnership with the IFA, 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.
The overall winner will be revealed at a special awards ceremony in Kinnity Castle, Co. Offaly at 9pm this evening.