Farming & Fisheries

West Cork Farming Awards adapt for the times we live in

September 23rd, 2020 4:56 PM

By Con Downing

Thumbs up at the launch of the new-look 2020 West Cork Farming Awards, which will be live-streamed online in November, from Neil Grant, general manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel; Marguerite Crowley of West Cork Farm Tours, winners of last year’s Judges’ Award for Special Achievement in the Farming Community, and Sean Mahon, managing director of The Southern Star, at a photoshoot on Roury Hill Farm, Rosscarbery, courtesy of owners Colette and Denis O’Donovan, who are also part of West Cork Farm Tours. (Photo: George Maguire)

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2020 has been an unusual one, to say the least, and many events, ranging from local agricultural shows to the National Ploughing Championships, have had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

However, the vital work of farming and agri-business in general goes on and it would be a shame not to recognise the endeavours of the dedicated people involved, which is why we have decided to go ahead with this year’s West Cork Farming Awards, albeit in a different format, which reflects the times we live in.

We are seeking nominations in the usual way for the 6th annual West Cork Farming Awards, run by The Southern Star in conjunction with the Celtic Ross Hotel. However, the gala awards ceremony cannot go ahead in its usual Sunday lunchtime format attended by 250 people; instead, it will be conducted, with appropriate social distancing, and live-streamed  online in early November.

Nominations can be made through the form at the bottom this page or by clicking here.

The closing date for receipt of entries is Wednesday, October 14th, and they should be sent to: West Cork Farming Awards, Southern Star, Ilen Street, Skibbereen, Co Cork, or made online

Being a predominantly rural area, it is appropriate to honour farmers, their families, workers and agri businesses in West Cork for their endeavour and achievements.

Last year, once again, produced a very high calibre of winner, including Fergal Coughlan, Innishannon (Young Farmer of the Year), Jerry O’Donoghue, Bantry (Sustainability & Diversification), Conor Murphy, Clonakilty (Dairy Farmer of the Year), Sean Kelleher, Newcestown (Drystock Farmer of the Year) and Nealie O’Leary, Coomhola (Hall of Fame).

This year there are five categories in which the general public gets to make nominations, as follows:

• Young Farmer of the Year – sponsored by Drimoleague Concrete
• Diversification award – sponsored by Scallys Super Valu, Clonakilty
• Dairy Farmer of the Year – sponsored by AIB
• Drystock Farmer of the Year – sponsor TBC
• Hall of Fame award – sponsored by Ifac

There will again be a special Judges’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Farming Community, sponsored by Hodnett Forde Property Services, Clonakilty. Last year’s award was won by West Cork Farm Tours.

We are now looking for nominations from people involved in farming, the agri industry and members of the general public of people they feel are worthy of being considered for these awards. Each winner will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and a prize to the value of €500.

Having chosen the category on the entry form for which you wish to make a nomination, tell us briefly why you think the person is deserving of this award, but make sure you tell the person you are nominating in case they do not wish to let their name go forward for consideration. People may also nominate themselves.

If you have any enquiries, call us on 028-21200.

Nominations are being accepted now and we would encourage people to get them in to us early as we will be profiling the shortlisted three nominees in each of the relevant categories in these West Cork Farming & Fisheries pages from the end of October.

The judging panel will again be chaired by Con Downing, editor of The Southern Star, and includes Tom Curran, regional manager of Teagasc Cork West; JJ Walsh, business advisor, and John Buckley, former Macra Young Farmer of the Year. Decisions of the judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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