Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Young Farmer of the Year prize for Mayo man

Kevin Moran
Kevin Moran
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

A dairy farmer from Mayo has been named the FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

Kevin Moran was declined a bank loan nine times before he succeeded in getting the finance to start milking cows on a rented farm just outside Tuam in Co Galway.

Four years later, the youngest of 11 children is milking 220 cows and adds the prestigious Farmer of the Year title to his already impressive resumé.

The 23-year-old was a former Teagasc student of the year, and a Nuffield scholar, which allowed him to travel around the world to study different ways in which farmers could access finance.

Nearly all of his land is leased, and Mr Moran gets contractors to do everything from make silage to rear his replacement stock.

"Even my old tractor broke down 10 months ago, but I haven't bothered fixing it yet because all my investment focus has been in the cows," he told the Irish Independent.

The herd is 100pc spring calving.

Mr Moran is also a member of three discussion groups: The West Awake discussion group, The Blackwater discussion group and European Dairy Farmers.

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Moran takes home a bursary worth €3,000 to undertake international travel and study farm practices.

A total of six farmers made the shortlist for the prize.

Brian Keegan from Kidare, Thomas Duffy from Cavan, Michael Kenny from Offaly, Stephen Robb from Donegal and Mattie John Kelly from Roscommon were all finalists.

The competition is now in its 18th year. Macra president, Seán Finan said it provides useful experience to young farmers.

"This is a wonderful competition as it provides young farmers with an invaluable experience and learning opportunity," he said. "It's a once-off chance to meet fellow young farmers, learn from their experiences and to share knowledge with each other but, most importantly, identify ways to further grow and develop your farm business."

Irish Independent