THE overall winner of the Grassland Farmer of the Year 2020 is Caroline Walsh from Ballinascarthy. Now in their fourth year, the awards recognise 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. The winners were announced as part of an online awards ceremony last Tuesday afternoon, January 19th.
In December, Caroline was announced as the winner of Dairy Farmer of the Year category, sponsored by AIB, in the sixth annual West Cork Farming Awards run by The Southern Star and the Celtic Ross Hotel. She also won the Lisavaird Co-Op Sustainability Award as part of the 2020 Carbery Quality Milk Awards.
Speaking at the online awards ceremony, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD, congratulated the achievements in grassland management of all of the 15 finalists. 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.
‘It is clear that initiatives such as Grass10 and the Grassland Farmer of the Year are to the fore in helping farmers achieve the most they can from the natural resource they have on their farm, which is grass. Good grassland management is essential in meeting the targets set down in the AgClimatise Strategy.’
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 Insurance, Grassland Agro and the Irish Farmers Journal. The first four-year phase of the programme has been completed and the second phase commences in 2021.
Also among the finalists, in the Sustainable Farming Category, was John Galvin from Kilnadur, Dunmanway, who farms with his wife, Yvonne. They milk just over 100 cows on 35 hectares.