THIS year Greenmount College in Antrim is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a year long programme of events to mark the occasion. Established as an agricultural college in 1912 with a group of eleven students, Greenmount College has developed and expanded into one of the leading agricultural and horticultural educational establishments in the island of Ireland.
Greenmount is now one of three campuses of the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) and offers a range of full-time and part-time courses to around 1,000 students who are employed in or hoping to gain employment in the agricultural and horticultural sectors.
Launching the programme of events, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “This is an important milestone in the history of Greenmount and I would like to pay tribute to all those past and present who have made a valuable contribution to its development over the past century. From humble beginnings with eleven students in 1912 to over 1,000 registered this year is a remarkable achievement and reflects the key contribution of the college in shaping agriculture and horticulture in the north of Ireland.”
Highlighting the important role of the College in developing and demonstrating new technologies and techniques to farmers and growers, Minister O’Neill continued: “Throughout the last century there have been seismic shifts in the way farming is carried out across the island, from small subsistence holdings with a few cows, pigs, hens, potatoes and corn to large scale intensive holdings with millions of pounds invested in livestock, buildings and equipment. Education, training, research and advisory services have all played a key role in this and Greenmount has been at the forefront in helping farmers adopt these technologies.
“As well as marking these achievements, it is important that we also look ahead with optimism. The close links between the College, farmers and growers puts the agriculture industry in a unique position. I am confident that the College will continue to adapt to meet whatever challenges the future brings and lead the industry confidently into the 21st century.”
Reflecting on his time at Greenmount 50 years ago, Greer McCollum, past president of the Greenmount Association said: “Although I didn’t know it at the time those were the best years of my life. I made lifelong friends and we all came together again last September to reminisce on the good old days we spent at Greenmount in 1961. My son Mark followed in my footsteps and spent two wonderful years at the College in the 1980s. I can certainly say that Greenmount helped us in developing our farm over the years.”
The launch event was attended by past students, industry leaders and representatives from associated bodies. Details on the proposed programme of events are available to view at: http://www.cafre.ac.uk/centenary