Minister Creed has today, December 3rd, revealed the winners of the Grassland Farmer of the year awards.
The overall winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year Award has been revealed as Knockainey Co. Limerick duo, John and Olivia MacNamara. The awards had an overall prize fund of €30,000, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The awards recognise and rewards farmers for achieving high levels of grass utilisation in a sustainable way.
There were fourteen finalists in total in attendance at the awards ceremony at Teagasc Moorepark, which is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD said all of the final fourteen have shown great leadership.
“The feedback from around the country is that the competition is really showing farmers what can be done with attention to detail and grass measurement. We have 14 finalists here today, who all have shown leadership and a high standard in grassland management and I want to congratulate all 14 for an outstanding performance.” Creed noted.
“While the accolades will go to the 9 individual award winners, everybody here today is really showing leadership to the industry and in years like this, that is extremely important.” He added.
The competition -
The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition consisted of John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Bryan Doocey, AIB; P J O’Connor, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Niall Ryan and David Cummins DAFM. There were seven winners of the Category Awards, with two winners of the Grassland Merit Awards and five overall finalists.
The 7 Winners of the Category Awards were:
- Young Grassland Farmer of the Year – Niall Moloney, Crecora, Co Limerick
- Heavy Soils/Disadvantaged land - Danny Bermingham, Doonbeg, Co Clare
- Southern region – Michael Ryan, Cashel, Co Tipperary
- Northern region – Peter Farrell, Kilmessan, Co Meath
- Dairy enterprise award – John Macnamara, Knockainey, Co Limerick
- Sheep enterprise award – Tomas O’Leary, Headford, Kilarney, Co Kerry
- Beef enterprise award - John Watchorn, New Ross, Co Wexford
- Most improved grassland – John Leahy, Athea, Co. Limerick
- Grazing management – Neill Boland, Enniscrone, Co Sligo
- Sean Kennedy, Dingle, Co Kerry
- Denis Lahart, Kells, Co Kilkenny
- Brian Nicholson, Johnstown, Co Kilkenny
- John Raggett, Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny
- Mitchell & Siobhan Hayes, Blarney, Co. Cork
“The Teagasc web-based grassland system, PastureBase Ireland, is a critical resource to these farmers’ grassland management systems.” he added.
Padraig Walsh, dairy farmer and chair of the Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee spoke of the importance of the Grass10 project.
“FBD is proud as the only Irish owned insurance company to invest our profits for the good of our most important customers, Irish Farmers. Grass10 is a very important project in this regard. Growing more grass and grazing more grass will help all farmers to earn more from their farm. This is well documented by Teagasc research.” He noted.
“I would urge all farmers to focus on the steps they can take on their own individual farm to improve their grassland management. Measuring grass will help farmers to identify surpluses to help replenish silage stocks in 2019 after the challenges of 2018.” Padraig added.
Speaking on behalf of Grass10 sponsors, AIB Agri advisor Bryan Doocey, congratulated all of this year’s finalists.
“AIB is delighted to be involved in the Grass10 campaign with Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture and the other sponsors. I would like to congratulate each of the finalists here today. You are a positive inspiration to other farmers.” He said.
“I would encourage all farmers to attend Grass10 meetings and future farm walks and to implement some of the practices on their own farms. Grass measurement and utilisation should be a priority for all livestock farm operations to deliver more profit for the farm business.” He continued.
On behalf of Grassland Agro, Dr PJ O’Connor spoke of Grassland Agro’s delight at supporting this “great competition”.
“The Grassland Farmer of the Year competition is a great competition and one that we are delighted to be supporting. The standards achieved by the finalists here today are impressive and they are great ambassadors for the industry by showcasing the high performance achievable from good soil and grassland management.” said Dr PJ O’Connor.