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Mountbellew Agricultural College Student wins AIB / Teagasc All Ireland Best Farm Business Plan Award

Pictured at the AIB/Teagasc All Ireland Best Farm Business Plan Awards in Portlaoise, were L to R: Pat Butterly, Agri Advisor, AIB Bank; Damien Mc.Grath, Mountbellew Agricultural College; Overall Winner of the Best Farm Business Plan Competition; Frank Murphy, Head of Curriculum Development & Standards Unit Teagasc Kildalton College and Vincent Flynn, Mountbellew Agricultural College.

Damien McGrath from Mountbellew Agricultural College has been awarded the top award in the AIB / Teagasc All Ireland Best Farm Business Plan Awards in the Maldron Hotel, County Laois on Friday, 26 June.

Damien, a Galway native, won the Award for his interview and farm business plan which focused on converting from a suckler enterprise to a spring calving dairy herd. Investment has started and Damien plans to milk 64 cows in 2016.

Speaking at the Awards presentation, Patrick Butterly Agri Advisor AIB said: “AIB are delighted to continue our partnership with Teagasc for the AIB / Teagasc Best Farm Business Plan Awards. The initiative places a strong emphasis on farm planning and financial planning, both key skills necessary for effective management in today's environment. We have been impressed by the quality and standard of farm plans and by the confidence of the students we met today and indeed at each of the Agricultural Colleges”.

In thanking AIB for their continuing sponsorship of this award, Frank Murphy, Teagasc Curriculum Development & Standards Manager highlighted the emphasis Teagasc place on farm planning in their education programmes. He said: “While the removal of milk quotas and other reforms of EU policy have opened up many opportunities, the need for thorough planning was never greater as the speed of change and the volatility of world markets is realised. In essence, planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it. This farm business planning competition will help Teagasc students gain a better insight into the importance farm planning process.”

Seven students represented the respective Teagasc, Greenmount and Private Agricultural Colleges and competed for the All Ireland Award, after each had won the individual college award. The finalists were: Craig Barkley (Greenmount); Martin Healy (Kildalton); Damien McGrath (Mountbellew); Bryan Moore (Clonakilty); Louise Crowley (Pallaskenry); John Delaney (Gurteen) and Darren McGourty (Ballyhaise). All were presented with their respective Awards on the day.