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Winner of Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year Award announced

The 2013 winner of the Teagasc Student of the Year award is Kevin Moran from, Shessagh, Taugheen, Claremorris, Co Mayo, The awards, are once again kindly sponsored by FBD Trust, and were presented by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD at a ceremony in Dublin today, Tuesday 15 April.

Kevin Moran completed the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Drystock Management) with Merit at the Mountbellew Agricultural College, County Galway. Kevin established himself as a new milk supplier with 70 cows on 38 hectares. He has expanded to 103 cows with his replacement heifers contract reared. He is passionate about dairy farming and about grass management. He scrutinizes the top 10 per cent Teagasc E Profit Monitors to see what they are doing right so he can do it better. He is committed to producing high quality milk with SCC ‘s down to 70,000 and TBC’s of 3,000. He is a member of the Teagasc Tuam Discussion Group run by Teagasc adviser Mike Donoghue and also now a Teagasc Monitor Farm and participates in the Agrinet Online grass measuring.

In congratulating the prize winners, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said; “In achieving such high standards, the prize winners and all the other students involved are well placed to make a strong contribution to the development of the Agri Food sector. This expanding export orientated sector will benefit greatly from the skills, knowledge and motivation that these young people will bring to agriculture production.  I would like to express my appreciation to Teagasc for their commitment to education and training in the agri food sector and to FBD for their continuing sponsorship.”

Sarah Claxton from Kilminin, Stradbally, Co Waterford was presented with the first runner-up award. Sarah qualified with a Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Dairy Herd Management) with Merit at the Teagasc Kildalton Agricultural College. The family went out of dairy farming in 1999 and went back into dairy farming in 2012 through a partnership arrangement. The partnership has gone from 130 cows to 320 Jersey cross Friesian cows at 2.7 livestock units per hectare. She is very involved in the overall running of the herd, getting into the fine points of milk solid targets, financial costings, breeding, grass cover and milking cows.

The second runner-up award went to Gerard Connolly from Cornamuckla, Doohamlet, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan. He completed a Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration qualifying with Distinction from the Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College. He returned to Ireland 3 years ago after spending 9 years in the UK. He has gone into partnership with his uncle on a 51 hectare farm. He has increased the dairy herd from 50 to 85 cows and will move to 105 in 2015 and eventually to 120 with heifers contract reared. Original herd had a low EBI base and one of Gerard’s key goals is to improve EBI.

Speaking in Dublin today at the awards presentation, Director of Teagasc, Prof Gerry Boyle said; “I congratulate all of the ten finalists this year. It’s a proud day for you and your families as you have been selected as the best from among the many participating in agricultural courses in the country. In Teagasc, we are continuously striving to improve the standards of the courses we offer and working with committed and dedicated students helps us to achieve that. ”

The students receiving the awards today have been chosen from all those who have completed Further Level training programmes with Teagasc in 2013. The other finalists were:

•    Craig Lovett, Kilnaleck, Co Cavan

•    Gerry Roseingrave, Ballyline, Crusheen, Ennis, Co Clare

•    Thomas Paul McNally, Mullanbouy House, Three Trees, Quigleys Point, Co Donegal

•    Christina Brosnan, Kilsarcon, Currow, Killarney, Co Kerry

•    Shane Joyce, Keelogues, Ballyvary, Castlebar, Co Mayo

•    Diarmuid Scannell, Coolea, Macroom, Co Cork

•    Sean Murphy, Ballybeg Cross, via Graiguenamanagh, St Mullins, Co Carlow

Speaking at the awards Conor Gouldson, Company Secretary for FBD said: “We are delighted to support the Teagasc Student of the Year Awards again and to celebrate the achievements of these students who are being honoured today. They are a credit to their teachers, families and communities and we congratulate them all. I expect to see some emerge as industry leaders in the years to come. Their potential, in Ireland of 2014, is boundless.”

Tony Pettit, Head of Education in Teagasc said: “These awards encourage students to excel in their studies. The awards would not be possible without the support of FBD Trust, who have sponsored the awards since their inception and are now in their 29th year. This year’s award winners demonstrate the dynamism of young farmers in responding to the opportunities arising in the dairy sector and the Food Harvest 2020 targets.”

There were 3,700 students on Teagasc run education courses in the 2013 academic year. The demand for agricultural education continues unabated. Teagasc linked higher education programme demand has increased again based on provisional CAO results for 2014 with an increase of almost 10% for some courses. The demand for further education places in agricultural colleges is expected to continue at the high levels of recent years. CAP proposals introducing top up payments to CAP Basic Payments Scheme for young farmers is generating exceptional demand for Teagasc part time and Teagasc distance education courses for the immediate year ahead.