20 December 2021
By Mary Bermingham
Owen Ashton, a farm manager from County Cork took home the top prize as he was crowned the 2021 FBD Young Farmer of the Year.
A graduate in Agriculture from Aberystwyth University in Wales, Owen manages a dairy herd of 180 cows in Castlelyons, County Cork. Over the last number of years, Owen has developed the farm and focused on environmental sustainability.
Owen was one of many Macra na Feirme members to be recognised for their achievements in their industry at the awards ceremony which was broadcast on Macra na Feirme’s Facebook page. The awards, now in their 23rd year, are sponsored by FBD Insurance and supported by Macra na Feirme in association with the IFA and the National Rural Network.
The evening also saw various category winners awarded:
- Trevor Cobbe from Laois won the Dairy award
- Eoin Kennedy from Kilkenny won the Land Mobility award
- Éanna Tiernan from Roscommon won the Dry Stock award
- Shane Halpin from Dublin won the Other Enterprises award
- Owen Ashton from Cork won the Career Farm Manager award
- Edward Treanor from Monaghan was a finalist in the competition.
- Éanna Tiernan was announced winner of the NRN Biodiversity Award sponsored by the National Rural Network.
Chairman of FBD Trust Michael Berkery said “on behalf of everybody at FBD, I would like to extend our congratulations to Owen Ashton. This award is very well deserved, it is a testament to Owen’s hard work, passion and dedication. Our hope is that these awards will inspire the next generation of farmers to build strong and sustainable farm businesses for the future”.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said the calibre of contestants in this year’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition, organised by Macra na Feirme, was of a very high standard. “With all the changes and challenges ahead, the sector will need bright, innovative and resilient people to drive farming forward. I wish all those who took part the very best for the future.”
The aim of the competition is to recognise and reward the top young farmers in the country. Entrants are judged according to a number of criteria including farm business initiative and innovation, levels of farm efficiency and enterprise quality, farm safety and environmental protection awareness, as well as agricultural knowledge and community involvement.