Liam Hanrahan, a dairy farmer from Co Clare took home the top prize as he was crowned the 2019 FBD Macra Na Feirme Young Farmer of the Year.
Liam holds a PhD in Dairy Farm Efficiency and has significant international farming experience in New Zealand and France. Hanrahan is currently the director of Callanview Farm Limited and an active member of Kilrush Macra.
Liam was one of many Macra na Feirme members to be recognised for their achievements in their industry at the awards ceremony in Castleknock, Dublin.
The awards, now in their 21st year, are sponsored by FBD Insurance and supported by the IFA and the National Rural Network.
The evening also saw a number of additional category winners:
Shane Fitzgerald of Co Waterford won the dairy category
Edward Egan of Co Roscommon won the land mobility category
Alan Doyle of Co Kilkenny won the dry stock category
Daniel Hickey of Carbery, Co Cork won the other enterprises category
Sinead Conry of Co Roscommon won the best emerging young farmer award
Sean Roddy of Co Kildare won the most climate change conscious young farmer award
Thomas Kane of Co Cavan won the best young farm manager award
Alan Doyle of Kilkenny was awarded the NRN Biodiversity Young Farmer of the Year Award, sponsored by the National Rural Network.
Macra na Feirme national president Thomas Duffy said: “The FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards are one of Macra’s biggest nights of the year. It is wonderful to have the entire farming industry together to celebrate young farmers.
“The members participating tonight are the future of farming in Ireland, the cohort tonight have shown that the future is indeed bright.”
Mr Duffy added: “It was clearly evident from all the finalists tonight that many of our young farmers have been supported in their journey into farming by their parents.
“It is important that we continue to support and encourage succession planning in agriculture through family succession or partnership opportunities available through Macra’s Land Mobility Service to ensure the future sustainability of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry.”
FBD chief executive Fiona Muldoon said: “The FBD Young Farmer of the Year is a special event for us in FBD Insurance and we have been sponsoring this event for 21 years.
“FBD Insurance is proud to work with Macra na Feirme to contribute to Ireland’s agricultural sector and to rural life in general.
“The nominees for the FBD Young Farmer of the Year Award are the next generation of farming leadership and talent in Ireland.
“It is crucially important that this generation finds its voice, through organisations like Macra na Feirme, to tell the story of successful Irish farming and what it means for this country.
“This generation can make Irish farming world leaders in sustainable farming practice for a sustainable planet.
“We congratulate all 2019 participants and wish them every success in the future.”
IFA president Joe Healy congratulated all the winners and wished them a successful career in farming.
He said: “The Young Farmer of the Year competition is a superb opportunity for young farmers to put forward their skills and their plans.
“The rigorous judging competition puts everybody to the test and will stand to all contestants in the years ahead.”
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.