Carbery’s Buckley is 2013 Young Farmer

John Buckley from the Carbery region is this year’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

The 27-year-old dairy farmer was bestowed with the honour in Co Limerick, on Tuesday night.

Some 23 young farmers participated in the competition run by Macra and the Irish Farmers’ Association.

John, Ed Payne from Co Roscommon, Esther Walsh from Co Waterford, Richard Bond from Co Laois, Thomas Hassett from Co Kilkenny, and Peter Farrell from Co Meath were shortlisted for the final interview stage.

All entrants were judged on farm business initiative and innovation, farm efficiency and enterprise quality, farm safety, environmental protection, agricultural knowledge and community involvement.

John, who farms with his father, was presented with an international travel bursary to study farm practices.

Edmond Harty, the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the Year 2012, and CEO and technical director of Dairymaster, headed up the adjudicators.

John holds a higher certificate in agricultural science. He has been a Macra member for 10 years and is a member of the IFA and the Irish Grassland Association.

With little room for home farm expansion, John said his plan is to improve farm efficiency.

IFA president John Bryan said: “It is vital that we acknowledge the many highly educated young people who have embarked on a successful career in farming.

“Policy incentives that facilitate the restructuring of farming must be a priority.”

Macra president, Kieran O’Dowd said: “Macra’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards showcase excellence among young, highly progressive farmers and recognise their commitment to the agricultural industry and their local communities.

“The Government needs to facilitate and create necessary supports in the current CAP and national budget process to encourage energetic and well-trained young people to commence farming and support them.

“The supports and opportunities are now available under CAP for young farmers.

“However, success or failure of this potential golden era for young farmers will come down to choices by the Department of Agriculture on the provision of schemes and incentives to encourage the next generation to deliver growth and expansion in the agricultural sector and contribute to economic development.”

This year’s contestants ranged in age from 19 to 34 and were from diverse farming backgrounds of dairy to tillage, to sheep and beef.

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