Fourteen young farmers have made the shortlist to win the FBD Young Farmer of the Year award.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday evening at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island, Cork, and the overall winner will be chosen by a judging panel chaired by former Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) and Macra president Joe Healy.
The FBD Young Farmer of the Year awards are run annually by Macra in partnership with the IFA.
The competition was launched in 1999 and has been successful in raising the profile of young farmers within their community by recognising their achievements and contribution to farming.
A fan and player of GAA, Edward is a dairy farmer in Monaghan, in partnership with his father, Tom. When he’s not on the pitch or farming, he enjoys spending time with his fiancé Trisha O’Donnell and daughter Bláithín.
Christopher is a spring-calving dairy farmer from Sligo, milking on a leased block. He farms alongside his parents, partner Eimear and baby Iarlaith. Christopher plays football with Enniscrone/Kilglass GAA.
Andrew works on his family’s farm, which is a calf-to-beef farm, buying from local dairy farmers and finishing all stock. He buys in 30 calves per year and aims to finish as many as he can off grass before the second winter.
Neil is from west Clare, milking 111 spring-calving cows on predominately heavy soils land. He graduated with a level 6 certificate in farming from Salesian Agricultural College.
From Kildorrery, Co Cork, William is in a farming partnership with his parents, milking a pedigree Holstein Friesian herd of cows. William’s hobbies include GAA, golf, soccer and horse racing.
Michael is a dairy farmer from north Tipperary, milking 360 cows on mostly rented land on long-term leases. Along with his brother James, Michael focuses on running a simple system focusing on utilising as much grass as possible and keeping cows and young stock in the best condition.
Frank runs an egg business on the family farm in Bunratty, Clare, with his brother Joseph. A trainee solicitor, Frank also enjoys playing hurling for Newmarket-on-Fergus.
Kieran was a new entrant to dairy farming in 2018 and is currently milking 170 cows. Outside of farming, Kieran enjoys working within his community, playing GAA and following horseracing.
A dairy and beef farmer, Caroline farms part-time with her family in north Cork. She is a member of Banteer Macra in Avondhu, Cork.
Henry is a 22-year-old dairy farmer from Pallaskenry, Limerick, with a passion for all things agriculture. He studied in Pallaskenry and has a level 6 degree.
A dairy and beef farmer from outside Nenagh, Bill likes to focus on doing the simple things right to improve herd performance.
Joe is 29 years old from Carnew, Wicklow, and graduated with a BSc in agriculture from Waterford Institute of Technology. He is a third-generation dairy farmer who works alongside his parents, milking 370 cows in a winter and spring milk system.
Edward runs a suckler farm in partnership with his father, which includes some pedigree Herefords. They breed their own replacements and finish the rest. Edward is 34 years old and from Roscrea, Tipperary.
Helena is full-time dairy and beef farming in Avondhu in partnership with her parents. She has a BSc in animal and crop production from UCD, and returned home to farm after a number of years working in consumer foods in the US and in the agri industry in Ireland.
Commenting on this year’s awards, FBD Insurance CEO Tomás Ó Midheach said: “At FBD Insurance, we understand the importance of supporting Ireland’s young farmers and to help showcase innovation and sustainability in Irish farming. On behalf of the team at FBD Insurance, we wish all applicants every success in the future.”
Macra president John Keane added that the event is one of the highlights of the Macra calendar.
“It recognises the very top level of farmers across our Irish farms. I would like to wish all those competing in the competition the very best of luck.
"I also want to acknowledge the support of those around the competitors, be those family, friends and colleagues, as that support network is so important for all,” he said.