THE Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, will be the guest of honour at the 3rd annual West Cork Farming Awards, run by The Southern Star in conjunction with the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery.
Following the success of the first two years of the West Cork Farming Awards, the quality of the nominees for the 2017 awards once again illustrates the huge pool of talent in all aspects of agriculture locally. Indeed, the judges had a difficult task whittling them down to just three for each category shortlist, particularly for the Young Farmer of the Year award, which bodes well for the future.
All five shortlists have now been published and the winners of each will be announced at the 2017 awards ceremony, which takes place at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery on Sunday next, September 24th, starting at 12 noon.
This year, there are five categories and those shortlisted are (in alphabetical order), as follows:
- Young Farmer of the Year award, sponsored by Drimoleague Concrete Works – Caroline Burke, Clonakilty; William Morris, Ballydehob, and John Sexton, Gurteen Farm, Bandon.
- Sustainability & Diversification award, sponsored by Scally’s SuperValu, Clonakilty – Brendan Brady, Innishannon; Stuart Kingston, Farnanes, and Caroline Murphy, West Cork Eggs.
- Dairy Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Allied Irish Bank – Peter Hynes, Aherla; Liam O’Donovan, Skibbereen, and Robert & Shirley Shannon, Ballinascarthy.
- Drystock Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Eurogene AI Services – Gerard Dineen, Kilnamartyra; Roy Kingston, Bandon, and Denis O’Riordan, Bantry.
- Hall of Fame award, sponsored by Denis McSweeney & Sons Ltd, Enniskeane – Donal Kelly, Beara; Tim O’Donovan, Dunmanway, and John Sexton, Courtmacsherry.
Each winner will receive a specially-commissioned trophy and a prize to the value of €500, courtesy of the respective category sponsor. All of the nominees are profiled on these pages and all have very impressive pedigrees and achievements to their names.
They will have some hard acts to follow, as these awards have produced a very high calibre of winner over the past two years.
The judging panel is chaired by Con Downing, editor of The Southern Star, and again includes Billy Kelleher, regional manager of Teagasc Cork West; JJ Walsh, sales and marketing manager of the Carbery Group, and John Buckley, a former Macra Young Farmer of the Year.
The awards ceremony, as in previous years, will be very much a family occasion and is being held at lunchtime on Sunday 24th at the Celtic Ross Hotel. A limited number of tickets is available to buy for members of the public interested in attending, however they must be pre-booked and paid for in advance on 023-8848722.
Unreserved tickets will not be available to purchase on the day of the awards.