Business planning skills rewarded by First Trust Bank

Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award winners with: (left to right) First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, (Agriculture Business Manager); Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) runner-up; Andrea Rooney (Tassagh) winner; third placed Jamie Adair (Banbridge); and Dr Kate Semple, Course Manager
Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award winners with: (left to right) First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, (Agriculture Business Manager); Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) runner-up; Andrea Rooney (Tassagh) winner; third placed Jamie Adair (Banbridge); and Dr Kate Semple, Course Manager

First Trust Bank have announced the results of their farm business management competition for final year foundation degree students at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus, writes Dr Kate Semple, Senior Lecturer, CAFRE.

First place has been awarded to Andrea Rooney (Tassagh), the runner-up is Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) and third placed is Jamie Adair (Banbridge).

Andrea Rooney, Tassagh, winner of the Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award with First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, left, (Agriculture Business Manager); and Year Manager Ian McMaw, right, Course Manager: (left to right) Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) runner-up; third placed Jamie Adair (Banbridge); and Dr Kate Semple

Andrea Rooney, Tassagh, winner of the Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award with First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, left, (Agriculture Business Manager); and Year Manager Ian McMaw, right, Course Manager: (left to right) Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) runner-up; third placed Jamie Adair (Banbridge); and Dr Kate Semple

In the first part of the competition, students were asked to present an analysis of the performance of a farm that they were familiar with considering both farm enterprises and the overhead costs. For the second part, students had to propose an appropriate development idea for their farm and assess the implications of the change including its effect on cash flow and profitability. The project considered any expenditure on farm buildings, machinery or stock, bank borrowings and repayments. The plans also forecast the effect of possible changes in key costs and selling prices.

The leading business development plans from this group of students ranged from dairy herd expansion, new entrant robotic milking unit, contracting business, suckler expansion and new start free range broiler units, with detailed costings and cashflows presented.

The competition judge from the First Trust Bank, Eoin Donnelly (Agriculture Business Manager) discussed the proposed development with each student and assessed their understanding of the proposed changes. Eoin then provided feedback to the students reinforcing the importance of business plans to show a return on the investment made through use of sound financial and physical performance figures. The use of benchmarking to ensure projections are tempered by reality is also an important tool.

Eoin further commented that each of the three business plans presented could be delivered: “The biggest challenge is always getting the plan lifted off the paper and put into action.”

Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) runner-up in the Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award with First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, left, (Agriculture Business Manager); and Year Manager Ian McMaw, right.

Christopher Ruddock (Donaghcloney) runner-up in the Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award with First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, left, (Agriculture Business Manager); and Year Manager Ian McMaw, right.

Overall winner, Andrea Rooney, now progresses to the next stage of the competition in June which is the AIB and Teagasc All Ireland Challenge and includes competitors from six colleges and a full day of assessment of business plans.

Jamie Adair (Banbridge), third placed competitor in the Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award with First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, left, (Agriculture Business Manager); and Year Manager Ian McMaw, right

Jamie Adair (Banbridge), third placed competitor in the Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award with First Trust Bank Judge Eoin Donnelly, left, (Agriculture Business Manager); and Year Manager Ian McMaw, right