Joe Milligan, a young farmer from Castlewellan, has been named runner-up in the AIB / Teagasc All-Ireland ‘Best Farm Business Plan’ competition. Receiving a prize cheque for €1,000, Joe is the first farmer from Northern Ireland to win an award at the final of the prestigious competition.

Joe, who recently graduated with a Foundation Degree in Agriculture from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), was applauded by the judges for an innovative and forward-thinking business plan which focused on increasing farm efficiencies, factored in pricing volatility and how a transition to dairy farming might affect profitability over time.

Eoin Donnelly, a specialist Agri-Advisor at First Trust Bank and a member of the regional judging panel, said;

“To win an award in the AIB / Teagasc All-Ireland Best Farm Business Plan competition is a phenomenal achievement. The competition tests students business, agriculture and rural enterprise knowledge as well as their ability to analysis trends and think creatively.  Joe showcased an in-depth understanding of the sector and his enthusiasm and commitment to farming shone though in both his plan and the interview stages of the competition. We are delighted to see such a deserving student take home the silverware to Northern Ireland for the first time and we offer many congratulations to Joe and the other young local farmers who took part in the competition.”

As well as being named a winner in AIB / Teagasc All-Ireland Best Farm Business Plan competition, Joe was recently selected to join the National Sheep Association’s Young Ambassador Programme. With his degree now complete, Joe plans to farm full-time at home at Castlewellan and continue to grow the business there.