Students farm business skills rewarded by First Trust Bank

Date published: 31 January 2017

First Trust Bank have announced the results of their farm business management competition for final year Foundation degree students at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus. First place has been awarded to Joe Milligan (Castlewellan), the runner-up is John Gilfillan (Limavady), and 3rd placed is Kyle Weir (Enniskillen). Highly Commended awards were made to Joe Casey (Strabane), Jake Finlay (Bangor), and David Stirling (Ballymoney).

In the first part of the competition, students were asked to present an analysis of the performance of a farm that they were familiar with, considering both farm enterprises and the overhead costs. For the second part, students had to propose an appropriate development idea for their farm and assess the implications of the change including its effect on cash flow and profitability. The project considered any expenditure on farm buildings, machinery or stock, bank borrowings and repayments. The plans also forecast the effect of possible changes in key costs and selling prices. 

The leading business development plans from this group of students ranged from beef and sheep to dairy conversion plans, suckler beef and turkey enterprises, a beef and sheep development plan, improvement plans for both dairy and sheep farms, and a plan to improve the quality of beef animals coming from the dairy herd.

The competition judges from the First Trust Bank, Eoin Donnelly (Agriculture Business Manager), and Karen Kidd (Manager of the Antrim Branch), discussed the proposed development with each student and assessed their understanding of the proposed changes. In summarising the interviews the judges commented that they were delighted with the standard of work and the competent manner in which the students had discussed their farm business development plans.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption - Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award finalists in the First Trust Bank Competition. Back Row: Kyle Weir (Enniskillen), David Stirling, (Ballymoney), and Jake Finlay (Bangor). Front Row: Joe Milligan (Castlewellan), Karen Kidd and Eoin Donnelly (First Trust Bank), and John Gilfillan (Limavady). Absent from the photo is Joe Casey (Strabane) as he is currently studying at Michigan State University, USA as part of his CAFRE course.
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