Dunloy’s Dearbhle is named as Agricultural Student of the Year

A Dunloy woman has been named as the ‘Agricultural Student of the Year’ in the annual Farming Life awards, in association with Cranswick Country Foods.

Dearbhle McLaughlin scooped this year’s award which was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Dearbhle grew up on a suckler cow farm outside Dunloy, with her parents and three older brothers.

Agriculture has always played a huge role in her life, influencing her decision to complete a BSc Hons Degree in Sustainable Agriculture, after completing a Foundation Degree in Agriculture and Technology in which she achieved a distinction.

Dearbhle McLaughlin was the winner of the Agricultural Student of the Year award. Making the presentation are Joanne Knox, Farming Life, and Edwin Poots, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Picture: Steven McAuley

Living on a suckler cow farm has informed her awareness from a young age in relation to suckler cow profitability, breeding, feeding, maintenance and genealogy.

During her first year at Greenmount, she was successful and grateful to have been awarded a bursary to aid her studies.

This entailed compiling an intellectually developed and comprehensive response to a statement relevant to each company’s product or services provided. She chose to compete for the ‘AI Services’ bursary which asked a question regarding the current competition experienced between plant-based and dairy milks.

Once she has completed her BSc Hons Degree, she aims to pursue a career within the agricultural industry. From a young age she has appreciated the guidance and dedication of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and hopes to join the DAERA workforce and would be particularly interested in carrying out Farm Quality Assurance inspections.

Dearbhle feels that a role within DAERA would give her a platform to utilise her knowledge of sustainable agriculture developed during her time at CAFRE, Greenmount. Dearbhle is also interested in lecturing or teaching agriculture to the younger generations in the future, and would also consider this as a possible career pathway.

Her time thus far at CAFRE has allowed her to view the facility as a caring community, and she would feel honoured to one day join the panel of teaching staff. Dearbhle received her award from Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Joanne Knox, Farming Life, sister paper to the Coleraine and Ballymoney Times.