March 5, 2018

Business Planning skills rewarded by First Trust Bank

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 Jonathan Ewing (Dungannon), the runner-up is Lynne McKeown (Donegal) and third placed is Chloe McFarland (Omagh).

Greenmount Campus Farm Business student award winners with First Trust Bank interviewers: (left to right) Eoin Donnelly, (Agriculture Business Manager); Chloe McFarland (Omagh); Lynne McKeown (Donegal); Jonathan Ewing (Dungannon); and Gary Flynn (Business Acquisitions)

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 dairy herd expansion, suckler expansion, new start free range layer and broiler units and switching from suckler cows to sheep, with detailed costings and cashflows presented.

The competition judges from the First Trust Bank, Eoin Donnelly (Agriculture Business Manager), and Gary Flynn (Business Acquisitions) 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.

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