Young Aidan in running for Farmer of Year award
TWENTY-YEAR-OLD Aidan Ruddy, who represents Louth in the semi-final of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year, is the youngest contestant in this year's competition which is run by Macra na Feirme in partnership with the IFA.
Aidan, who lives at the old Newry Road outside Dundalk, runs the family farm at Inniskeen with his father Seamus.
A past-pupil of Bush Post Primary School, Aidan has already completed his course in Ballyhaise to get the Green Cert. The farm has 40 acres of tillage with the rest rearing 200 mid-season ewes. 'I would like to expand on the number of sheep we have,' he says.
Aidan was selected as the Louth finalist after a judge visited the farm and interviewed him about his plans to develop the farm.
The 28 county finalists will each compete in the national semi-finals taking place on August 20 and 22. Six overall finalists will then go through to the rigorous final interview on September 2 in the Westlodge Hotel, Bantry, Co. Cork.
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.
Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place as well as to winners of the 'Innovation' and 'Community Involvement' Awards and to each county winner. The overall winner of the competition will receive a bursary to undertake international travel and study farm practices.