The winners of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 competition were presented with their awards by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, in Teagasc Moorepark last week.
Amongst those in receipt of an award, were the Hurley family from Kildorrery. Enterprise Category winners, Noel, Liz and Sean Hurley accepted their award for ‘Most Improved Grassland’ from Minister McConalogue.
The competition recognises the top grassland farmers in the country who are growing and utilising more grass on their farms. The Overall Winner, and Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020, was Caroline Walsh from Ballinascarthy, County Cork.
Other Enterprise Category winners included: Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork (Dairy Category); Pat Collins, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork (Beef Production (non-suckling) Category); Thomas Hogan, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary (Suckler Beef Production Category); and JP Hammersley, Lattin, Co. Tipperary (Sustainable Grassland).
Speaking at the event last Friday, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. congratulated all the finalists on their grassland management.
“As finalists you are joining a group of top class grassland farmers, and I would particularly like to congratulate Caroline Walsh on winning the overall Grassland Farmer of the Year Award. It’s an achievement you can be really proud of.”
The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards are part of the Teagasc Grass10 campaign which is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Teagasc, AIB, FBD, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal, with an overall prize fund of €30,000.
Overall finalists included John O’Connell, Rathduff, Co. Cork; Graham Swanton, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary; James Hoey, Dunleer, Co. Louth; Shane Kinsella, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny and Niall Callanan, Craughwell, Co. Galway.
Category winners were: Heavy Soils/Disadvantaged Land Category – Sean Barry, Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick; Sustainable Farming Category – John Galvin, Dunmanway, Co. Cork; and Young Farmer Category – David O’Leary, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.
Speaking on behalf of the competition judges, Aidan Brennan Irish Farmers Journal said: “The judges noted a shift in attitude this year towards protecting the environment. This was seen as important as grass production itself and it probably reflects the changing attitude among farmers in general. There was a massive uptake of low emission slurry spreading and protected urea among the contestants.”
The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition were John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Liz Hyland DAFM, Bryan Doocey, AIB; PJ O’Connor, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal and Ciaran Roche FBD Insurance.