THE 2016 winner of the Teagasc Gold Medal is West Cork’s Billy Kelleher.
The Teagasc Gold Medal is awarded on an annual basis to someone who has made an exceptional contribution to Teagasc and to the agriculture and food sectors. Billy is the Teagasc regional advisory manager for West Cork.
The award was presented to Billy Kelleher by the Teagasc chairman, Dr Noel Cawley at a meeting of the Teagasc Authority in Oak Park, Carlow. He said: ‘As an advisor, Billy covered all enterprises and was highly technically-competent in all enterprises, and in particular dairy and tillage, where he served a large client base of farmers. He led the Teagasc Dairygold Joint Dairy Development Programme for 12 years from 2000 to 2012, before being appointed as regional manager of the advisory services in Cork West.
‘Since this appointment, the advisory service in Cork West, the Carbery Joint Programme and linkages with Clonakilty Agricultural College have all prospered. ’
A native of Upton, Billy graduated from UCD in 1977 with an honours degree in agriculture. He commenced his career in the Inspectorate of the Department of Agriculture, but soon moved to advisory positions under the County Committee of Agriculture, ACOT and Teagasc.
He worked as an advisor in Newmarket, Mullinavat, Mallow and Moorepark Fermoy. As an advisor Billy implemented various programmes with his clients, one of which was a milk protein improvement programme, which became the precursor to the Teagasc Protein 350 Programme. As part of his service to clients, some of the earliest dairy and tillage discussion groups in the country were instigated and led from the Mullinavat and Mallow offices, starting in 1981. Accepting the award, Billy Kelleher said: ‘I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the team of Teagasc colleagues I work with in the Cork West region, and the other managers and staff across the advisory service. We have many excellent staff in the Advisory service.
‘Well trained and motivated staff will provide a bright future for the advisory service to support farmers to develop their farms and achieve a viable income from their farm enterprises.’
The Teagasc Gold Medal is recognition for advancing the work of Teagasc and is aimed at encouraging high performance and promoting excellence. Previous winners of it were: Professor Liam Donnelly, Dr Paul Cusack, Nuala King, Professor Paul Ross, Dr Lance O’Brien, Christy Watson, Professor Tim Guinea and Dr Padraig O’Kiely.