Young Farmer International 'showdown' at ploughing championships

Farming Life news
Farming Life news

Macra na Feirme are delighted to announce a Farm Safety showdown of international portion between the Macra’s Young Farmer of the Year, Daniel Hawthorne, and New Zealand Young Farmer’s Young Farmer of the Year, James Robertson.

Macra na Feirme, the Irish Young Farmers organisation, in association with the National Ploughing Association are organisers of the Harry Ferguson Safe Tractor Driving Award which takes place on each of the three days of the Ploughing Championships.

Now in it’s third year, the Safe Driving Competition judges young farmers on their health and safety approach to several tractor based farm tasks. The competition for the past two years, has had entries from Northern Ireland, and this year takes on a further international dimension.

At 10.30am on Tuesday morning, the competition has the All-Black v Green dimension where two young farmers from opposite sides of the global face off against each other in an effort to raise further awareness of farm safety.

About James Robertson, New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year

From growing up on a dairy farm, James Robertson is quickly making his mark in the New Zealand agriculture scene. In July 2019, James Robertson won the prestigious New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year Contest. James became the youngest to take out the title in the contests 51-year history. The New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year competition is described as the ‘ultimate rural challenge’ requiring contestants to demonstrate a range of practical and technical skills across all farming industries. Contestants need to qualify through two stages of the competition before becoming one of only seven to compete in the grand final.

After growing up on his parents’ 200 cow dairy farm where he spent all his spare time, James won a scholarship to attend Massey University and studied a Bachelor in AgriCommerce.

During his studies James was elected Chairman of the Massey Young Farmers' Club, the largest club in the country and was recognised as the Massey Agriculture student of the year and top farm management student in 2017.

Following the completion of his studies, James took on a role with Fonterra as a business graduate. Fonterra is New Zealand’s largest company and a dairy farming cooperative owned by 10,000 farming families. Since joining Fonterra James has held roles within the cooperative’s sustainable dairying, ventures, trade strategy and commercial intelligence teams. James has a passion for sustainable food production and is travelling the UK and Ireland looking to learn more about farm systems and share his New Zealand perspectives.

About Daniel Hawthorne

Daniel Hawthorne – a cattle and sheep farmer from Co Monaghan in the process of entering the poultry sector – has been named the 2018 Macra na Feirme FBD Young Farmer of the Year. The metal fabricator and former Ballyhaise Agricultural College student was announced as the 20th recipient of the award at an awards ceremony in September 2018.

Since 2012, Daniel has been running the family farm with the help of his father. The Monaghan man currently has an Aberdeen Angus cow suckler-to-beef system along with 50 ewes. He also runs a store-lamb business, which handles around 400 lambs annually. Currently in the process of becoming a new entrant in the poultry sector, Hawthorne has already obtained planning permission for a 12,000-bird free-range laying unit – with the construction phase “well underway”. He is an active member of Newbliss Macra na Feirme.

Other Macra events on Wednesday

At 2.30pm, Wednesday, 18th September. Daniel Hawthorne, James Robertson and National President Thomas Duffy will participate in a panel discussion in the Macra Stand (Block 3, Row 17, Stand 371 – beside the NDC Milk Carton!). The Discussion will focus on Climate Change and Sustainability a key theme of this year’s National Ploughing Championships.