Students from each of the agriculture and forestry courses in Mountbellew Agricultural College participated in the recent annual Colleges Challenge Day, held in conjunction with Macra na Feirme and hosted in Mountbellew Agricultural College.
A total of seven competitions ran simultaneously in the afternoon; all were specialist skills competitions including stock judging, tractor driving, welding, plant identification, grafting, forestry skills, and a problem solving team challenge.
The Mountbellew Agricultural team beat off huge competition in all categories to win the overall challenge. They also secured firsts in the team soccer, problem-solving, and tractor driving competitions.
The Gurteen students were in second place while Ballyhaise and Clonakilty took joint third place. Before lunch teams participated in the quiz competition and a competitive soccer tournament.
A student from each team also participated in the FRS Memorial Scholarship to reward students showing outstanding leadership ability. Martin Hoade from Tuam, representing Mountbellew Agricultural College, scooped the top prize.
The challenge day has become an annual event since the introduction of the leadership module to the Level 5 certificate course in 2008, and with all the challenges based around teamwork and leadership, it ingrains in students the life skills they need to succeed in farming or any aspect of the wider industry.
Macra na Feirme national president Kieran O’Dowd congratulated all the students at the event on their enthusiasm, encouraging them to be the leaders in the development of agriculture in the testing years ahead. He also acknowledged the number of students who have got involved in their local Macra clubs and reminded them that it is a means of keeping in touch with others in farming of a similar age and outlook when they leave college next summer.
Speaking after the presentations Tony Pettit, head of education with Teagasc, acknowledged the huge effort put in by staff and indeed students for making the leadership module an integral part of the Level 5 courses.