Enda Farrell from Ballymahon, Co Longford, has been named as the 2019 Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year at an online virtual awards ceremony.
Farrell completed the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agricultural (Dairy Herd Management) in Teagasc's Ballyhaise College before returning to a family farm partnership and establishing a dairy herd in 2020.
Farrell saw off stiff competition from 11 other nominees to win the award on Monday night.
Farrell said he found the Teagasc course particularly beneficial for helping him with herd performance measurement, financial management and the need for work-life balance. As part of his studies, he became keenly aware of sustainable farming approaches such as hedgerow and waterway management, protected urea, low emission slurry spreading and on-farm energy saving measures.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue, congratulated Farrell and all the finalists.
“You and your families can be very proud of what you have achieved. I wish you well in your future careers,” he said.
The first runner-up award went to Michael Kennedy, from Co Limerick. Michael completed a Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farming. He originally worked off farm, and having expanded his dairy herd made the decision to go full-time farming.
The second runner-up award went to Máire Keohane from Co Cork. Máire completed the Level 6 Advanced Dairy Herd Management programme in Teagasc Clonakilty.
She found the advanced dairy programme to be very rewarding and enrolled in the Teagasc Professional Dairy Diploma in Dairy Farm Management.
The awards, which are sponsored by FBD, are for the top performing graduates of Teagasc Level 6 agricultural training programmes in 2019.
John Cahalan, chief commercial officer with FBD Insurance, said the company was committed to supporting the next generation of farmers and their families.
“We are proud to be working with Teagasc on these awards to recognise and celebrate the outstanding students that complete their agricultural education each year.”
The other finalists in the competition were:
Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “The 14 students recognised through these awards are the future leaders in Irish agriculture and I wish them well in their farming endeavors. I would also like to thank FBD Insurance for their continued support, sponsoring the Student of the Year Awards since their inception over three decades ago.”