Twenty-one-year-old farmer Aisling Molloy from Puttaghaun in Tullamore is not just the only woman in this year’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition; should she win she’ll also be the only woman to do so in the competition’s 16-year history.
Aisling is one of 28 county finalists that have been selected to contest the competition’s semi-finals in Horse and Jockey in Tipperary next Wednesday and Athlone next Friday. Only six of those semi-finalists will go through to the competition final, where the outright winner will be revealed in Bantry on September 2.
Aisling is about to go into her final year of animal science studies in UCD, after five months of work experience with farmers including Anthony Moloney in Edenderry and Mattie Moore in Croghan.
Closer to home, Aisling and her father Eddie farm Aisling’s grandmother Patricia Molloy’s 115-acre farm in Puttaghaun, where some 40 acres are given over to tillage. Aisling’s main farming interest is their farm’s suckler herd of Charolais, and she plans on becoming a part-time beef farmer as well as finding a full-time job after she completes her studies.
The Tullamore Macra member said she was feeling “nervous” this week, ahead of next week’s semi-final in Athlone.
“I heard they grill you a fair bit on the farming,” she explained, adding that she’s been advised to know her “facts and figures”. “I’ll have butterflies,” she predicted ahead of her semi-final, “but I’ll take it in my stride.”
Aisling admitted she’s happy her selection as a finalist gives representation in the competition to women. However she said she’s just as pleased it means representation for the suckler beef industry.