Minister McConalogue launches Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year Competition 2023
The Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year competition for 2023 was officially launched in the Teagasc Agricultural and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD. This is the seventh year of the competition which recognises farmers who are achieving high levels of grass utilisation in a sustainable manner.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: “Our unique grass-based farming systems are a valuable asset that gives Irish farmers a natural advantage and sets us apart from our international counterparts. It is crucial that we maximise the efficiencies of our grass-based systems to make them more profitable and financially sustainable and good grassland management is key to achieving this.”
The Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year competition is an initiative that is 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 Farmers Journal.
The Minister highlighted that improving environmental sustainability and reducing greenhouse gases are significant challenges for the sector and will have an impact on how we produce grass. He added, “I am very pleased to be associated with the ‘Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year’ competition as part of the Grass10 Campaign and the important role it plays in helping farmers achieve their full potential in growing and utilising quality grass in a sustainable manner”.
Along with the overall Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year award, there are different award categories including awards for best dairy enterprise, best drystock enterprise, nutrient management use and efficiency, young farmer (<30 years) and organic farming. The competition is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with an overall prize fund of €30,000. Each category winner will receive €5,000. The overall winner will be selected from the category winners and will receive an additional €5,000.
Professor Frank O’Mara, Teagasc Director said ‘Our grass-based systems of dairy and drystock production are key to our the sustainability of our agriculture, and better grassland management and utilisation will be vital to meeting greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions targets. Teagasc have increased research on nutrient management and the use of clover, and in advisory support to farmers to adopt these technologies. The Sustainable Grassland Farmer of the Year competition will highlight grassland excellence among Irish livestock farmers.
Applications can be made at www.teagasc.ie/gfoty23