Kildalton College in Piltown, County Kilkenny were the hosts for the 2024 Macra & Teagasc Colleges Challenges Day.Teams of 12 students from Teagasc and private agricultural colleges from around the country competed in sport, presentations, and land-based skills learned during the college year, such as stock judging, tractor driving and fencing.

When it came to the NBI sponsored Farm Business and Technology Award, it was the home college of Kildalton that edged the judges’ decision. Niall Beirne, Head of Strategic Partnerships at NBI commented, “Congratulations to the students from Kildalton College on their success on winning the NBI Farm Business & Technology Award. This year the students were tasked with demonstrating how fibre broadband is benefiting their farm business. In keeping with previous years, there was a very high standard, and it was clear to the judging panel that a significant amount of research and thought had gone into the submissions. It was great to see different themes emerge as the students highlighted productivity benefits, sustainability benefits, cost savings, as well as social connections as just some of the benefits of high speed, reliable broadband. It was great to hear first-hand the impact that NBI is having on the sustainable development of farms, as well as wider rural communities.”

Dr AnneMarie Butler, Head of Education, Teagasc said, “The annual Challenges Day is a key event on the Teagasc Education calendar.  It’s great to see learners and staff from all the colleges getting to know each other, competing and having fun.  With the variety of challenges, there is an event for all interests and skills.  We are delighted to work with Macra, FRS, NBI and TOWI in bringing this event to fruition and wish all learners continued best wishes in their courses and personal development.”

Elaine Houlihan, Macra President stated, “Macra are delighted to support and run such a successful event with Teagasc, FRS, NBI and TOWI. All the students who participated in this year’s Colleges Challenges day were exceptional and we would like to thank everyone who participated. Young farmers and rural people play a crucial role in our organisation, and it is great to see the up-and-coming generation of young farmers across the board.”

In terms of the overall competition, it was very close, with the outcome being decided at the final challenge, where Kildalton were crowned the overall winners.