DUP MEP Diane Dodds has confirmed she will return as sponsor of the Young Farmer of the Year award at the 2016 Farming Life and Danske Bank Awards.
Introduced as part of the awards in 2014, the Young Farmer of the Year category has proved popular and Farming Life editor Ruth Rodgers is expecting this year to be no different.
“We have been delighted with the interest show in the Young Farmer of the Year category and I am confident that this year will see it prove as popular as ever,” she said.
“Young people are the future of our industry and with this award we aim to recognise the efforts and successes of a young farmer in his or her chosen field.”
Mrs Rodgers went on to welcome Diane Dodds MEP as returning sponsor and looked forward to seeing the entries arrive in the coming weeks.
“I am delighted that Diane Dodds MEP has returned for a second year as sponsor of the Young Farmer of the Year category. I anticipate we will see a strong level of entries and I would encourage farmers out there to consider filling in the entry form and putting forward a young person who they feel is worthy of recognition.”
Confirming that she will this year be supporting the award for Young Farmer of the Year in the forthcoming Farming Life and Danske Bank Awards, Mrs Dodds MEP said: “I am delighted to once again be able to support the Farming Life and Danske Bank Awards, which represent an opportunity to showcase the talent and innovation present in agriculture right across our Province.
“As in 2015, I will be supporting the “Young Farmer of the Year” category. This is a section of the industry which deserves recognition because without new blood local agriculture simply will not be sustainable into the future.
“While we are all aware of the pressures facing the majority of sectors in agriculture across Northern Ireland, young people with new ideas, enthusiasm and drive are key to delivering much needed change. Given the volatility that the industry is facing we need to be thinking of new ways to combat the impact on-farm and young people can play a vital part in this role.
“Earlier this year I hosted a visit from the European Investment Bank to explore potential funding mechanisms for Northern Ireland agriculture. During the visit we met a number of young farmers who have made the decision to come home and develop thriving farm businesses. The EIB officials were extremely impressed with the young farmers they met and made it clear they could compete with the best in Europe.
“I would encourage any young farmer who is passionate about what they do to enter for this award and show what young people can offer agriculture here in Northern Ireland.”
For details of categories and how to enter the awards see page 17.