Potato growing has been a difficult occupation this past year, with both heavy rain and drought making the job of planting, growing and harvesting spuds a challenge.

Nonetheless, grower and packer Meade Farm is marking international day of the potato on Thursday 30 May by inviting one lucky farming enthusiast and their friend to join them in this task by donning their overalls and wellies to become a potato farmer for the day.

For tractor-mad children and future farmers under the age of 12, the online competition will offer the winner, accompanied by a guardian, an opportunity to experience behind-the-scenes, hands-on potato growing at Meade Farm in Lobinstown, Co Meath.

The company is also offering the whole family an annual membership to Emerald Park.

The winner of the competition will be kitted out in personalised Meade Farm gear and shadow Meade Farm manager Daniel Williams as he works in the field, riding in the tractor cab as the spuds are harvested, brought to the potato store and packhouse.

Importance of potatoes

Teagasc is currently developing more sustainable potato varieties that are input-use efficient and water-stress resistant, a new priority with climate change.

"Potatoes are such a hugely important crop to the health of the nation and to our economy.

"We thought that we might do something different that both emphasises the essential work that potato farmers do, but is also a fun day out for kids who would otherwise just experience farming through the computer game Farming Simulator," explains commercial director of Meade Farm Philip Meade Jr.

With this competition, Meade Farm hopes to persuade at least one lucky youngster about why potato farming is worth the endeavour.

The competition runs from 27 May to 7 June, with the day out at the farm scheduled for autumn when the potato harvest starts.