L-R: Jason Byrne, Head of Agri Business for Zurich Insurance, Margaret Donnelly, Farming Editor at Independent News and Media, Gillian O'Sullivan, Winner of the Grand Prix Farmer of the Year 2018 and Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at the launch of the Farmer of the Year 2019. (Pic: Damien Eagers / INM)

Zurich Farm Insurance, in partnership with the Farming Independent, are calling on all Cork farmers to enter the 6th annual National Farmer of the Year Awards 2019 by the entry deadline on Monday, September 30, 2019.

The Zurich Farm Insurance Farming Independent Farmer of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate the best of Irish farmers, who every year continually play an important role in supporting the Irish economy.

The 2019 award ceremony – to be held in The Sheraton Hotel in Athlone on November 14 – is an opportunity for the Irish farming community to come together to acknowledge, appreciate and reward the very best in the sector. 

The awards are free to enter, and farmers may enter themselves or be nominated by any third party (Teagasc advisor, friend, family member and so on). 

Entrants can choose from five farming categories – Dairy, Beef, Tillage, Sheep and a Rising Star category.

Gillian O’Sullivan, winner of the Grand Prix Farmer of the Year 2018, with Jason Byrne, Head of Agri Business, Zurich Insurance at the launch of the Farmer of the Year Awards 2019. (Pic: Damien Eagers / INM)

The other awards on the night include; an Excellence in Farm Safety award, a Lifetime Achievement award, and the Grand Prix overall Farmer of the Year award for 2019. 

Winners in each farming category will receive a prize of €2,000, while runners-up will each receive €250. The Grand Prix Farmer of the Year will take home €3,000.  

The winner of the Grand Prix Farmer of the Year 2018 was Gillian O’Sullivan from Dungarvan, Co Waterford. The lifetime achievement award for last year went to Bord Bía Chairman, Dan McSweeney.

Commenting on this year’s Awards, Jason Byrne, Head of Agri Business for Zurich Insurance said: “As one of Ireland’s leading insurers settling 99%* of our claims, at Zurich Insurance we are passionate about recognising and rewarding best practice across Ireland’s farming community. We are excited to be continuing our sponsorship of The Farmer of the Year Awards for 2019, which has become an annual highlight in the farming calendar.

“A life in farming can at times be challenging but the Irish farming sector is resilient, and here at Zurich, we are delighted to be celebrating the farming profession, community and individuals that drive the industry.

“We are expecting 2019 to be the one of the biggest years yet for entries with the industry standard being so high and encourage farmers from around the country to enter.”

Gillian O’Sullivan, Grand Prix Farmer of the Year 2018 winner, added: “Participating in the Farmer of the Year awards has been such a positive experience for us, we are so proud of what we have achieved as a team in such a short space of time. It has opened up opportunities and connections that we could never have imagined possible.”

Full details of categories and how to enter are available at www.farmeroftheyear.ie.

Zurich Insurance provides the complete farm insurance solution including cover for Property, Livestock, Business Interruption, Liability, Agricultural Vehicles, Personal Accident and Farm Home.

* From January to December 2018 Zurich paid out, on average, 99% of all Farm Insurance claims.