Aaron Forde, director and chairman of Ornua, and chief executive officer of Aurivo Co-operative Society Limited since 2004, will will chair the final adjudication panel on September 1 in the Twin Trees Hotel, Ballina, Co Mayo.
He is a member of the Sligo Local Enterprise Board and a member of IBEC National Council.
Prior to that, Mr Forde was a director of Thomas McDonogh & Sons, responsible for the fertiliser and feed trading businesses of the group.
Mr Forde has considerable experience in the Agri/Food sector having served as managing director of Adams Food Ingredients from 1993 to 2001 and prior to that having held senior positions with Kerry Foods and Laird Foods, part of Food Industries Plc.
A graduate of University College Cork, Mr Forde has an Honours B.Sc (food business) degree and diploma in dairy science.
The remaining members of the panel are Dr Vanessa Woods of Agri Aware; Willie Fahey, former CEO of IFAC Accountants; Professor Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc; Joe Healy, former Macra national president; and Dr Tommy Boland of UCD.
A total of 39 semi-finalists from every county are in the running. Six finalists will be announced at lunchtime onSeptember 1 and will then undergo final interviews in the afternoon.
The remaining finalists will benefit from a walk on the farm of Seán O’Donnell, the 2014 FBD Young Farmer of the Year.
The overall winner of the competition will receive a bursary to undertake international travel and study farm practices. There will be sector prizes for beef, sheep, tillage, dairy, and other.
The competition, now in its 17th year, is run by Macra in partnership with the IFA.