Jonathan is Young Farmer of the Year

Jonathan Marry has been named this year’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

The pig farmer from Co Louth was bestowed with the honour at a gala banquet in Ballina, Co Mayo, on Tuesday night.

Jonathan fattens just under 800 pigs per year and his farm has three full-time staff, is fully compliant with Bord Bia, and is EPA licensed.

Jonathan breeds all his own replacements and buys all compound feed.

He plans to build 800 extra fattening places in the future.

In all, some 39 young farmers participated in the competition run by Macra na Feirme in partnership with the Irish Farmers’ Association and sponsored by FBD.

Along with Jonathan, five other contestants were shortlisted for the final interview stage of the prestigious contest, which took place at the Twin Trees Hotel.

They were dairy farmers PJ O’Keeffe from Co Kilkenny and John Tully from Co Galway, beef farmer Thomas O’Connor from Co Kildare, tillage farmer Garry Kinsella from Co Wicklow, and sheep farmer Graham Grothier from Co Carlow.

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

Jonathan was presented with a €3,000 international travel bursary to study farm practices.

Aaron Forde, director and chairman of Ornua, and chief executive officer of Aurivo Co-operative Society Limited since 2004, headed up the team of adjudicators.

The panel also included Dr Vanessa Woods of Agri Aware; Willie Fahey, former CEO of IFAC Accountants; Professor Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc; Joe Healy, former Macra an Feirme national president; and Dr Tommy Boland of UCD. Jonathan follows in the footsteps of 2014 winner Seán O’Donnell.


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