Student of the Year 2020
Watch the 2020 Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year Awards back here
Overall & Dairy Category Winner - 2020 Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year
Deirdre McMahon, Co. Galway
Deirdre completed the Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme at Pallaskenry College. She has a degree in nursing & worked as a nurse. She is now involved in the operation of her husband’s dairy herd & is fully involved in the decision making & strategic development. She found the farm planning project, farm management practices & sustainable farming practices of her course very valuable. She continues to upskill & has completed CPD courses & participates in discussion groups including a women’s discussion group. Her goal is a an efficient sustainable dairy farm enterprise.
2020 Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year - Deirdre McMahon, Co. Galway
Winner - Other Land Based Enterprises Category 2020
Marian Dempsey, Co. Cavan
Marian attended Ballyhaise College for the Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Forestry Course. A lifelong interest in trees led her to pursue this interest more commercially, following her retirement from teaching. She found the Teagasc Forestry course a fantastic journey with excellent content delivered by staff with expertise in forestry & access to forest land at Balyhaise. The forestry business module was very helpful in assessing opportunities. Has developed a business based around her compact forestry focusing on forestry interpretative, experiential & appreciation courses for children & groups.
Other Land Based Enterprises Category Winner, Marian Dempsey, Co. Cavan
Winner - Drystock Category 2020
Shane O'Brien, Co. Cork
Shane completed the Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme in Midleton. He successfully transitioned from a full time career as an airline pilot to a major involvement in the family farm through a partnership arrangement. The farm has store to beef, tillage & store lamb finishing enterprises. He gained a lot from the course & has implemented grassland practices including paddock setup, grass measurement, use of clover & PastureBase recording. He has a very strong focus on cost control, profitability measures & sustainability. His goal is to find the optimum farming system balance.
Drystock Category Winner - Shane O'Brien, Co. Cork
Read about our finalists below or view their videos here
Colin Cahalan, Co. Galway
Colin completed the Teagasc Green Cert Part-time programme in the Galway/Clare region at the Athenry office. He has a full-time career off the farm with the Defence Forces. He is very involved in the family farm, farming continental cross sucklers, selling stores and a Suffolk cross sheep flock. He found the Green Cert to be very helpful across many areas and is now implementing the knowledge gained on the home farm. Immediate goals are to improve soil fertility, grass swards and grass management and improve sustainability and biodiversity.
Shane Clifford, Co. Kerry
Shane completed the Teagasc Green Cert Part-time programme in Killarney. He is involved in calf to beef on own farm and involved in a farm partnership arrangement with a neighboring dairy farm. The course content on grass management, reseeding, value of EBI indices, animal nutrition and course visits to farms were very enlightening. His focus now is on grass production and utilisation. Immediate goals for the dairy herd are genetic improvement, herd fertility and grass production and utilisation. A longer goal is to develop own equity in dairy farm partnership.
Daire Comerford, Co. Laois
Daire completed the Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Dairy Herd Management programme in Gurteen College. She is not from a farm background and had completed a Level 7 programme in Veterinary Science. Subsequently she decided to attend agricultural college and Is now employed by Gurteen college as a farm assistant to the farm manager. She found all aspects of her course to be very interesting and gained a lot from on-farm placements. Longer term she is interested in a farm partnership. In the medium term would like to use her Teagasc dairy and veterinary science qualifications to further her career.
Patrick Conlon, Co. Mayo
Pat completed the Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme in Ballinrobe. He has a carpentry business with employees. Has taken over the running of family farm and runs a suckler herd with Belgian Blue cross cows. Uses AI sires and overall herd genetic merit is in the top 10% for ICBF suckler herds. He has a sheep flock and shows at pedigree sheep events. He found the course very beneficial and felt it boosted his confidence in his own farming ability. His goal is to combine efficient farming with a busy off farm business while maintaining a work life balance for himself and his family.
Padraic Cullen, Co. Kildare
Padraic attended Oak Park Centre for the Teagasc Green Cert Part-time programme. He worked off farm including in Australia before returning to the family dairy farm in 2015. He has a part-time firefighting role with the Fire Service.The technical & financial content of the Green Cert was very informative & the tips picked up on practical training days. The focus now is on tightening the calving rate, increasing milk solids/cow, maximizing grass production & utilization. His overall goal is to develop the dairy enterprise & reduce the beef enterprise. A family succession partnership is planned.
Gearoid Doyle, Co. Wexford
The Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Equine Breeding - Stud Management at Kildalton College was Gearoid's choice. He now works with his brothers in the family equine business Monbeg Stables which specializes in selecting, training & selling horses. He enjoyed his time at Kildalton finding the equine anatomy & physiology subjects interesting. The Leadership module was rewarding career wise, developing his ability to communicate & pitch his business to others. He'd like to develop further his skills & ability through family business before establishing his own training yard.
Laura Hannon, Co. Meath
Laura attended the Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme in Navan. She is a qualified nurse and worked in a hospital after qualifying. She has returned to the family dairy farm & is mainly involved in calf & heifer rearing & grassland management. A big advantage of the Green Cert course was the confidence & knowledge gained around farming & also interacting with people from other farm backgrounds. Immediate goals are to drive herd efficiency focusing on herd breeding & fertility also grass management. She hopes to become more involved in the management of the farming business.
Niall Healy, Co. Tipperary
Niall completed the Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme in the Tipperary region. Originally from Dublin he was involved in a construction business. He moved to Tipperary to become involved in managing a relative’s dairy farm through a succession partnership. Now has taken over key herd management decision making. His goal is to expand the dairy herd, reduce costs, improve grass management & herd genetics, improve dairy cow housing & follow sustainable farming practices. The longer term plan is to take over the overall ownership through the succession partnership process.
Ewan Kane, Co. Kildare
Kildalton College was where Ewan completed the Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Dairy Herd Management course. Originally from a beef tillage farm he has now established a dairy herd on the home farm. Has responsibility for herd management and makes operational decisions. He has adopted a range of technologies/practices including use of sexed semen and PastureBase , cost control, cow monitoring, sustainability measures and discussion group participation. He hopes to establish a family farm partnership in the coming years.
Kenneth Keegan, Co. Galway
Kenneth attended Mountbellew College for the Teagasc Distance Education Green Certificate. Programme. He's in full employment as an engineer & was not previously involved in farming. Now is more involved in his wife’s suckler to beef home farm. He found his Green Cert programme to be very beneficial on many fronts including the hands on husbandry skills, farm business & technology and sustainability & biodiversity. He would advise anyone from a non- farming background who needs a Green Cert to have no worries about undertaking the course. In the longer term he is open to farm diversification
Conor Lehane, Co. Cork
The Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Dairy Herd Management programme at Clonakilty College was Conor’s choice. He is involved in the management of the home pedigree dairy farm. He has responsibility for key areas of herd management including breeding decisions, grass management and calf rearing. He is a Teagasc Discussion Group member. He is a member of the Irish Holstein-Friesian Association as well as the young breeder section. His Teagasc course has developed his grass management and measurement skills along with the practical application of sustainable farming measures.
Aoife Nic Fhionnlaoich, Co. Dublin
Aoife attended the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, National Botanic Gardens for the Level 6 Advanced Horticultural programme in Landscaping. Originally she completed a degree in Environmental Science. Following experience gained on a horticultural farm in the Netherlands she enrolled in the horticultural course. She found the course very comprehensive in terms of plant ID, plant care, pest & diseases & landscape design. She Is very interested in the sustainability aspects of horticulture. In the longer term hopes to pursue a role in ecological management and conservation
Mark Miley, Co. Roscommon
Mark completed the Teagasc Green Cert Part-time programme at Roscommon. He is involved in managing a family drystock farm with other members of his family & working full-time with An Post. The award winning pedigree sheep flock is well established & well recognized in Ireland & UK. Currently he is Charollais sheep society committee secretary. The suckler herd is moving fom commercial to pedigree & employing embryo flushing techniques. He found the Green Cert very beneficial overall & areas such farm administration records very useful. Goal is to expand embryo flushing to improve the herd
Denis O’ Donoghue, Co. Cork
Denis attended the Macroom office for the Teagasc Green Cert Part-time programme. He wished to further his ambition of obtaining a livestock auctioneer license. He recently became mart manager at Cork Marts Skibbereen with responsibility for over 20 full-time & part-time mart staff. COVID resulted in mart shutdowns & precipitated to online selling which requires new approaches & skills. The Teagasc Green Cert gave him the knowledge & insights into farming to help him communicate with his farmer clients.His immediate goal is to develop his managerial experience and ability at Skibbbereen Mart
Robert O'Mara, Co. Westmeath
Robert participated in the Teagasc Level 6 Advanced Dairy Herd Management programme in Ballyhaise College. He found his this course to be very relevant and learned a lot about grassland management and herd breeding. He has now enrolled on the Teagasc Level 7 Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management. He is gaining a lot of experience from this course on the operation of a large scale dairy herd from the formal course work and discussion groups. Longer term would like to develop a career in farm management.
Susan Stephenson, Co. Leitrim
Susan completed the Teagasc Distance Education Green Cert programme in Balymote. Off farm she works as a physiotherapist but is very involved in the running of the farm with her husband. The family farm on a challenging soil type is based around suckler-sheep enterprise. Cows are continental cross with AI sires & ewe types include Suffolk cross Texel & Mules. She found the course developed her confidence to become more involved in & understand better the family farm enterprise. She would like more initiatives & supports to encourage greater female involvement in family farm management.