New “Farm Business and Technology Award” created

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company rolling out high-speed fibre broadband across Ireland and Macra na Feirme have today announced a strategic partnership agreement.  Macra na Feirme is a nationwide representative organisation with over 10,000 members across rural Ireland. The agreement will see NBI partner with Macra na Feirme and include support for national awards programmes being run by Macra.

The partnership agreement includes sponsorship of the newly created Macra na Feirme Farm Business and Technology Award, which will form part of the annual “Ag Challenges Day” involving Ireland’s seven agricultural colleges, with four of the colleges operated by Teagasc and three private colleges. Students in each of the colleges will be invited to submit entries on a topic such as “The technology I want to deploy on my farm and why.”

In addition, the NBI Macra Na Feirme partnership agreement includes sponsorship of the “Staying Connected Award”at the Club of the Year Competition, which rewards Macra na Feirme members who are making a conscious effort to stay connected, not just in the regular physical sense but also making Macra activities more accessible virtually. Both sponsorships are clearly aligned with the rollout of a nationwide broadband network.

Peter Hendrick, CEO of National Broadband Ireland, said: “This new partnership with Macra na Feirme is a great fit as it will help us to develop a relationship with a key national organisation with a significant rural presence.  It is essential to work alongside an organisation such as Macra na Feirme as a means to ensure that its voice and that of its members are heard in the context of the rollout of the National Broadband Plan. Furthermore, we hope we can play a positive role with Macra as we partner with it on these great initiatives.”

Denis Duggan, CEO of Macra na Feirme, said: “I am delighted that National Broadband Ireland has agreed to partner with us, through its targeted sponsorship of relevant activities. Our members are taking a very keen interest in the rollout of the National Broadband Plan, as reliable internet infrastructure is vital for the future development of rural communities, both as a means to stay connected and also to provide commercial opportunities. Macra na Feirme’s aim is to support the social, economic, cultural, personal development and the well-being of young people who have a rural connection, and the partnership supports these objectives.”

Macra na Feirme is a voluntary organisation representing a thriving community of 10,000 young people from rural Ireland who advocate for, nurture, and develop its members aged between 17 and 35 in a fun, inclusive and supportive environment. Its programmes and activities encourage young people to play an active role in their local community, making rural Ireland an attractive place to live and work. 

Responsible for designing, building, and operating Ireland’s new high-speed Fibre-to-the-Home network under the National Broadband Plan, NBI is creating futureproofed infrastructure spanning over 96% of Ireland’s land mass, connecting over 1.1 million people across 544,000 premises homes, businesses, farms and schools.   Recognised as one of the largest and most ambitious projects of its kind globally, the National Broadband Plan will ensure every person in Ireland has access to high-speed connectivity, transforming opportunities for people living and working in the Intervention Area to embrace remote working.

A third and final part of the partnership will see NBI sponsoring Macra na Feirme’s national newsletter which is frequently circulated to members.