Ballina man named Young Farmer of the Year

FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2014, Sean O'Donnell, from Ballina, celebrates with his wife Jackie.

FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2014, Sean O'Donnell, from Ballina, celebrates with his wife Jackie.

Ballina man Sean O'Donnell was named the FBD Young Farmer of the Year at an awards ceremony in Bantry, Cork, last night.

The dairy farmer beat off stiff competition from 200 other farmers around the country to make it all the way through to the final six best in the land last night. 

The award is one of the most prestigious accolades in the farming sector in Ireland.

Mr O'Donnell told the Mayo Advertiser today that it was a major honour for him to have won the competition.

"I didn't expect it at all but I'm absolutely delighted," he said.

After a career in construction, Mr O'Donnell returned to his farming routes in Behybeg, between Bonniconlon and Ballina, in 2008.

Since then, he has grown the dairy farm from 40 milking cows to 110 and has big plans for further expansion in the future.

The FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition, which is now in its 16th year, is run by Macra na Feirme in partnership with the Irish Farmers’ Association.

The aim of the competition is to recognise and reward the top young farmers in the country.

Farmers are judged by a panel of agricultural experts under categories such as their business initiative, efficiency, farm safety, environmental protection awareness and community involvement.

As well as running the farm, Mr O'Donnell is also the chair of his local farmer discussion group.

He is also a keen footballer and plays with the Bonniconlon GAA Club. 

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