The FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards was held tonight, September 11th, at the Castleknock Hotel in Dublin.
The event coincided with the 20th anniversary of the competition, with the six finalist named earlier in the day. These were Eamonn Keevers (Dairy), Sean Kelly (Dairy), Daniel Hawthorne (Beef), Linda Hanbridge-Cliffe (Collaborative), Luna Orofiamma (Sheep), Maighread Barron (Land Mobility).
The six finalists went through a round of interviews earlier in the day, with the judging panel made up of Chair: Sharon McGuinness - CEO HSA; John Donoghue - CEO IFAC; Eoin Lowry - Agribusiness Editor IFJ; Laurence Fallon - Past Macra President; and Dr.Tom Kelly - Director of Knowledge Transfer - Teagasc.
The awards ceremony kicked off at the Castleknock Hotel at approximately 7:30, with guests treated to dinner and drinks, before the winner was finally revealed just after 10:30pm.
Taking home the award at this year’s competition was Daniel Hawthorne, a Beef Sheep and soon-to-be poultry farmer from Co. Monaghan.
From a young age Daniel always had a passion for farming. Since 2012 he has been running the family farm with the help of his father. Currently they have a 30 Aberdeen Angus cow suckler to beef system along with 50 ewes. Daniel also runs a store-lamb business handling around 400 lambs annually.
If that were not enough, Daniel is also in the process of becoming a new entrant in the poultry sector, having obtained planning permission for a 12,000 bird free-range laying unit, with the construction phase well underway.
He has also completed his Green Cert in Ballyhaise Agricultural College. Along with the farm He is also in full time employment as a metal fabricator in Combilift and have obtained the required certification as a fabricator.
Outside of my employment, Daniel is an active member of Newbliss Macra. He also enjoy a games of five-a-side football and during the winter and plays some indoor shortmat bowls.
There was also other awards Categories on the night, including The winner of the National Rural Network Biodiversity award Was Raymond Langan; The Best Emerging Female Farmer was won by Louise Crowley, and the Best Emerging Male Farmer.
Eamonn Keevers was the overall dairy winner, Luna Orofiamma was the overall sheep winner, Thomas Hayes won the other enterprise award and Linda Hanbridge was the collaborative farming category winner.
You can watch all the action from tonight’s event plus an interview with this year’s winner via out Facebook and Snapchat accounts.