Mona O’Donoghue-Concannon scooped the 2018 Corrib Oil - Women in Farming Award at the National Ploughing Championships.
Sheena Cassidy, Co. Longford and Olivia Carroll, Co. Tipperary were runners-up in the competition, that attracted entries from nineteen different counties.
Breda Donohoe - RTÉ interviewed all finalists at Corrib Oil’s stand shortly after 2pm.
This year’s winner - Mona - runs a dairy; beef and suckler farm with her husband; brother and 14-year-old daughter in Cortoon, Tuam, Co. Galway. She received a Galway Crystal engraved plate along with €1,000.
The dairy enterprise comprises of sixty Shorthorn; Friesian and Montbéliarde cows, while Shorthorns dominate the sixty-cow-beef herd.
Mona’s brother came to live with her when he sustained a brain injury following the sudden passing of their mother in 2008.
“I had to find something that was going to work that I could care for him but also make an income.”
“He was involved in a centre and it just wasn’t working out for him so we decided to do a social farming experiment on the farm.”
Mona’s brother became a farm partner in 2010 and today, he works alongside his brother-in-law to milk the dairy herd.
Mona is responsible for all small animals on the farm including ponies and donkeys and she is also at the helm of a small suckler herd which she established in 2010.
She also takes a lead role in administration and completes all paperwork online.
“I rear all the small calves into cows and we inseminate them either by AI or a stockbull. I rear all them animals and we make sure that they are fit-to-purpose.” She outlined.
Sheena Cassidy, Ballinamuck, Co. Longford was a finalist in the competition.
The 28-year-old works full-time at the National Ambulance Service and farms with her father, although she had initially planned to study Veterinary Medicine at University College Dublin (UCD).
“Unfortunately, that’s the year that my Mam got sick; she passed away a few years ago, but it was always a no-brainer for me to come home to the farm.”
“I’ve always seen how mammy and daddy farmed and I never had the travel bug, so I was always going to come back to Longford and farm.”
The father-and-daughter-duo run a 75-suckler cow herd and purchase 3-week-old suck calves.
Third-generation 23-year-old farmer and mother of one, Olivia Carroll, Co. Tipperary was also a finalist in the competition.
In the springtime, Olivia takes a lead role in morning milkings on the family-run farm before she tends to 200 calves at Gurteen Agricultural College; she then returns home to take charge of the evening milking session on the 160-acre farm.
Her father works as an AI technician meaning that Olivia takes the ropes of the enterprise during the breeding season; she relief-milks on a 380-dairy cow enterprise in the summer.
A video from the competition will be released on That’s Farming.