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Minister Creed Announces Grassland Farmer of the Year Winners

The overall winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year Award is John and Olivia Macnamara, Knockainey, Co Limerick. Now in its second year, the Grassland Farmer of the Year awards, with an overall prize fund of €30,000 kindly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, recognises and rewards those farmers who are achieving high levels of grass utilisation in a sustainable manner.

Minister Creed Announces Grassland Farmer of the Year Winners
Pictured in Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork at the Grassland Farmer of the Year Awards 2018 are Southern Region Winner Michael Ryan, Cashel, Co Tipperary with his family and sponsors Liam Woulfe, Grassland Agro, Justin McCarthy, Editor, Irish Farmers Journal, Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Padraig Walsh, FBD Insurance & Chairman Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee, Liam Herlihy, Teagasc Chairman & Tadhg Buckley, AIB.

2018 has taught us how important grass production is to our beef, sheep and dairy enterprises

Fourteen farmer finalists gathered in Teagasc Moorepark today, Monday, 3 December for the awards. The Grassland Farmer of the Year Awards is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and it is an initiative to support Sustainable farming from Grassland production.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD said: The feedback from around the country is that the competition is really showing farmers what can be done with attention to detail and grass measurement. We have 14 finalists here today, who all have shown leadership and a high standard in grassland management and I want to congratulate all 14 for an outstanding performance. While the accolades will go to the 9 individual award winners, everybody here today is really showing leadership to the industry and in years like this, that is extremely important.

The 7 Winners of the Category Awards were:

 - Young Grassland Farmer of the Year – Niall Moloney, Crecora, Co Limerick  

- Heavy Soils/Disadvantaged land - Danny Bermingham, Doonbeg, Co Clare  

- Southern region – Michael Ryan, Cashel, Co Tipperary  

- Northern region – Peter Farrell, Kilmessan, Co Meath  

- Dairy enterprise award – John Macnamara, Knockainey, Co Limerick  

- Sheep enterprise award – Tomas O’Leary, Headford, Kilarney, Co Kerry  

- Beef enterprise award -  John Watchorn, New Ross, Co Wexford  


Two Grassland Merit Awards went to:

 – Most improved grassland – John Leahy, Athea, Co. Limerick  

– Grazing management – Neill Boland, Enniscrone, Co Sligo  


The 5 Finalists were:

Sean Kennedy, Dingle, Co Kerry  

Denis Lahart, Kells, Co Kilkenny  

Brian Nicholson, Johnstown, Co Kilkenny  

John Raggett, Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny  

Mitchell & Siobhan Hayes, Blarney, Co. Cork  

Teagasc Chairman Liam Herlihy said: “2018 has taught us how important grass production is to our beef, sheep and dairy enterprises. It gives us our comparative advantage in ruminant based production systems. This competition showcases the top farmers in the country who are using best practice in grassland management and the latest research on their farms. The Teagasc web based grassland system, PastureBase Ireland, is a critical resource to these farmers’ grassland management systems.”

Padraig Walsh, dairy farmer and chair of the Teagasc Grass10 stakeholder committee said: “FBD is proud as the only Irish owned insurance company to invest our profits for the good of our most important customers, Irish Farmers. Grass10 is a very important project in this regard. Growing more grass and grazing more grass will help all farmers to earn more from their farm. This is well documented by Teagasc research. I would urge all farmers to focus on the steps they can take on their own individual farm to improve their grassland management. Measuring grass will help farmers to identify surpluses to help replenish silage stocks in 2019 after the challenges of 2018.”

The Grassland Farmer of the Year awards are part of the Teagasc Grass10 campaign which is supported by Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, AIB, FBD Insurance, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal.

Speaking on behalf of Grass10 sponsors, Bryan Doocey AIB Agri advisor said: “AIB is delighted to be involved in the Grass10 campaign with Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture and the other sponsors. I would like to congratulate each of the finalists here today. You are a positive inspiration to other farmers. I would encourage all farmers to attend Grass10 meetings and future farm walks and to implement some of the practices on their own farms. Grass measurement and utilisation should be a priority for all livestock farm operations to deliver more profit for the farm business.”

On behalf of Grassland Agro, Dr PJ O’Connor said: “The Grassland Farmer of the Year competition is a great competition and one that we are delighted to be supporting. The standards achieved by the finalists here today are impressive and they are great ambassadors for the industry by showcasing the high performance achievable from good soil and grassland management.”

The judging panel for the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition consisted of John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Bryan Doocey, AIB; P J O’Connor, Grassland Agro; Aidan Brennan, Irish Farmers Journal; and Niall Ryan and David Cummins DAFM.