Teams of 12 students from Teagasc and private agricultural colleges around the country competed in sport, presentations, and skills learned during the college year such as stock judging, tractor driving and teamwork challenges.
The overall winners this year were Mountbellew Agricultural College from Co Galway.
Stan Lalor, Head of Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc who was judging on the day said “When you see and can be part of the day, particularly to see the groups of students enjoying their participation in the various competitions, stretching the boundaries of their capabilities and experience, and revelling in their achievements as the prizes were presented, it all serves as a great demonstration of all the good work being done through our education programmes.
In a new initiative, Teagasc will send teams to represent Ireland in a landscape horticulture competition in Switzerland in May and the Europea Agro Challenge in Slovakia in August.
Congratulations to all colleges who brought teams on the day. Sincere thanks to our partners Macra, our excellent host Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry our sponsors, Farm Relief Services, and National Broadband Ireland, as well as our Teagasc colleagues involved. A special mention to all of the staff in Salesian Agriculture College, Pallaskenry for all of their work in making this event happen”.
The students from Clonakilty Agricultural College took the win in three team challenges – NBI Farm Technology Award, FRS Fencing Challenge and the Tractor Driving competition.
National Broadband Ireland (NBI) sponsored the Farm Business and Technology Award for the second year in a row, which was a new element to the competition last year. This required teams of three from each college to use the technology infrastructure available to them to map out an area of land and plan the area for future sustainable grazing use. The teams then presented their plans to a panel of judges, and they were questioned on their reasoning and findings. Congratulations to Clonakilty Agricultural College who presented a very strong plan that incorporated sustainability, costs and environmental practices.
Niall Beirne, Head of Strategic Partnerships at NBI commented. “Congratulations to the students from Clonakilty Agricultural College on their success on winning the NBI Farm Business & Technology Award. The students were presented with a very real-world challenge, so it was encouraging to see how they were using online technologies to solve for a specific problem and assist with practical decision making. As judges, we were also ensuring students were both environmentally and cost minded with their solutions. In fact, it was reassuring to see just how environmentally conscious the students were when addressing the task.”
Continuing their long-time association with the Macra Challenges Day, FRS Networks renewed their sponsorship of a three-month scholarship to FRS Networks. The presentation challenge required individuals to present on the topic of Leadership in Sustainability. Although all participants delivered very strong, heartfelt presentations, Wayne Smith from Gurteen Agricultural College took home the win with his presentation.
As well as the presentation challenge, FRS Networks also sponsored the fencing competition where teams of three students from each college battled it out in a short time frame to construct a fence which was within certain guidelines which included safety, accuracy, and effective communication and teamwork.
Colette McInerney, Head of Operations for FRS Farm Relief commented, “FRS Network were extremely proud to part of this event and to have the opportunity to award the FRS Memorial Scholarship to Wayne Smith from Gurteen College who delivered an excellent and engaging presentation on Leadership and Sustainability. We look forward to having Wayne onboard to gain valuable agribusiness experience through his scholarship internship with FRS. The standard of presentations were very high with only a few marks separating the contenders. For FRS the scholarship offers us a way to honour our past colleagues and give an agri student the important step forward in their future career in the industry”.
One of the new challenges this year was Tug of War. Michelle Foley and her team from Tug of War Ireland kindly officiated the competition on the day.
The winners of the different challenges were:
Tug of War – Kildalton Agricultural College
NBI Farm Business and Technology Award – Clonakilty Agricultural College
Simulator Challenge – Joint winners, Kildalton Equine and Horticultural College and Mountbellew Agricultural College
FRS Scholarship – Gurteen Agricultural College
Problem Solving Competition – Mountbellew Agricultural College
Tractor Driving Competition – Clonakilty Agricultural College
Special Skills (Stock Judging) – Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry
Overall winners – Mountbellew Agricultural College
John Keane, Macra National President said; “All the students who participated in this year’s Ag Colleges Day were exceptional and we would like to thank everyone who participated. Macra, Teagasc, FRS and NBI have a long-standing relationship and it is our pleasure to continue to participate in the Ag Colleges Day. Young Farmers and Rural Young 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”.
A special thank you to the team in Teagasc for their dedication and development of this Agricultural Colleges Day and to the team in Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, who helped organise the successful day.