Jonathan Marry, a pig farmer from Co Louth, has won Macra’s na Feirme’s FDB Young Farmer of the Year competition.
The award ceremony for the competition took place last week in the Twin Trees Hotel, Ballina, Co Mayo.
For the first time in the long history of the competition, there were sector prizes under the headings of dairy, beef, tillage, sheep, and other/alternative.
The competition is organised by Macra na Feirme in partnership with the IFA and sponsors FBD.
Congratulations on your win. You’re the first pig farmer to win the competition. What are you plans for the next year and beyond?
It has been a great honour as a pig farmer to win this competition.
It’s a sector that doesn’t get a lot of attention, so it’s great for our small, and decreasing, industry.
My plan for the next year and beyond is to keep trying to improve the farm.
There are always new products out and new ideas to be tested, working closely with the factories to get the best prices, and the same with our AI company to keep production at the top.
I am short 800 places to finish 300 piglets weaned a week, and hope to build early next year.
What are the challenges and opportunities, in your opinion, facing the pig sector?
The biggest challenges for me as a pig farmer are profitability and herd health. Prices are poor, and not looking good for the rest of the year.
Herd health is everything to a pig farmer, it is always a battle to keep on top of it.
You’ve a side operation doing pig-on-a-spit. Why and how did you get started in this?
I bought a machine four year ago to try and get a better price for the pig, to learn more about what the consumer wants, and to get more Irish pork to the table.
I have done 70 or so pigs so far this year, and hope to increase it next year.
How has your first week as the FBD Young Farmer of the Year been like?
The level of support I have got over the last week was unbelievable. It has been a great honour for me, my family, and for the pig industry.
Joining Macra has been one of the best things I have done and I hope it will encourage more young people to join. You will make friends for life and try new things, and it will open doors that you never thought were possible.
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