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Donegal Farmer is Teagasc Student of the Year 2009

Alastair Doherty from County Donegal is the 2009 Teagasc Student of the Year. The awards, sponsored by FBD Trust, were presented by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD in Dublin today, Thursday 1 April.

Alastair Doherty from Carnamuggagh Upper, Letterkenny, County Donegal, completed the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture course at Teagasc in Letterkenny.

Receiving his award Alastair said: “I am really pleased to have been involved in these awards and have enjoyed participating in the course. Being presented with this award is a great honour.”

Speaking at the presentation of the awards, Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “The nine students who reached the final in the Student of the Year Awards are impressive individuals and I want to congratulate all of them on the successful completion of their courses and on attaining such high standards. Irish farming needs good, well trained young people entering the sector, like the nine students being honoured today. More and more young people are turning to farming and agriculture as a solid, sustainable business that can provide a good living into the future. Enrolments in Teagasc courses have increased by 76 per cent over the last three years, with 3,200 students now participating in Teagasc courses. Indications are that applications for places next September will be up again.”

Liam McDonald, Keale, Ballyorgan, Kilfinane, County Limerick was presented with the first runner-up award. He is a student at Pallaskenry Agricultural College, County Limerick.

The second runner-up award went to Declan Dwyer, Killaraght, County Sligo. Declan completed the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture at Teagasc Sligo centre.

Six other students were finalists and were also honoured at the awards ceremony. They were: Jerome Corkery representing Clonakilty College; Patrick Loughlin representing the Ballinrobe course; Brian Quirke from Ballyhaise College; Sharon Rothwell from Kildalton College; Tomás Russell representing Gurteen College; and Gerard Timothy from the Athenry course. These students were chosen from almost 800 who have completed Further level training programmes with Teagasc in 2009.

Now in their 25th year, the awards have been sponsored since inception by FBD Trust Ltd. Paddy Browne, Teagasc Head of Education speaking at the awards said: “Through their continued support for the Student of the Year Awards, FBD Trust have demonstrated their strong commitment to agricultural education and to the agricultural sector. The competition encourages the best and brightest people to become involved in farming and to reach the highest standards.”