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Minister McConalogue presents Awards to Top Grassland Farmers


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.

Pictured above in Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork at the presentation of the Grassland Farmer of the Year Awards 2020 are Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Overall Award Winner Caroline Walsh and her husband Joe, Ballinascarthy, Co Cork; Liam Herlihy, Teagasc Chairman; Bryan Doocey, AIB; Padraig Walshe, FBD Insurance & Chairman Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee; Dr Pat Dillon, Teagasc Head of the Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Programme; John O'Loughlin, Grassland Agro and Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal.  Photo O'Gorman Photography.

The Overall Winner, and Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 was Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, County Cork. The competition recognises the top grassland farmers in the country who are growing and utilising more grass on their farms. The awards are supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with an overall prize fund of €30,000.

Speaking at the event, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. congratulated all the finalists on their grassland management. He said: "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.

Finalists:

  • Shane Kinsella, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny 
  • Niall Callanan, Craughwell, Co. Galway
  • John O Connell, Rathduff, Co. Cork 
  • Graham Swanton, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
  • James Hoey, Dunleer, Co. Louth

Category winners:

Young Farmer Category – David O’Leary, Castleisland, Co. Kerry
Heavy Soils/Disadvantaged Land Category – Sean Barry, Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick
Sustainable Farming Category – John Galvin, Dunmanway, Co. Cork

Enterprise Category Winners:

Sheep Category – Peter McGuinness, Trim, Co. Meath
Dairy Category – Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork
Beef Production (non-suckling) Category– Pat Collins, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork
Suckler Beef Production Category– Thomas Hogan, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Grassland Merit Awards:

Most Improved Grassland – Noel Hurley, Kildorrery, Co. Cork
Most Improved Grassland – David Brady, Stradone, Co. Cavan
Sustainable Grassland – JP Hammersley, Lattin, Co. Tipperary

Overall Winner Caroline Walsh

Overall Winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 - Caroline Walsh, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork.

Padraig Walshe, dairy farmer, and chair of the Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee said: “Grass10 is a very important project for the promotion of best practise in grassland management. There are challenges ahead for all grassland farmers, inside and outside the farm gate, however, the farmers who have participated in the Grass10 grass groups have improved their grassland management decision making.”

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.“

Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said: “Well done to all the finalists today. You are all exceptional farmers doing an excellent job and I would like to acknowledge this. I congratulate Caroline Walsh on being the overall Grassland Farmer of the year. “

The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition were John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Liz Hyland DAFM; Bryan Doocey, AIB; P J O’Connor, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal and Ciaran Roche FBD Insurance. 

See more about Caroline Walsh's farm walk from earlier this year at Caroline Walsh Virtual Farm Walk

Find out more about the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 here