Thirteen outstanding farmers and agri-entrepreneurs were recognized in the 2023 RDS Spring Agriculture and Forestry Awards held on Wednesday, June 7, at the RDS in Dublin. The awards have a total prize fund of €31,000 and aim to celebrate and promote the principles of climate-smart agriculture in Ireland. The winners were announced from three main categories: Forestry, Livestock, and Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Pippa Hackett, spoke at the RDS and commended the efforts of the award winners. She expressed her delight in seeing the hard work and dedication of Irish farmers and agri-entrepreneurs in practising climate-smart farming and forestry. Hackett, who is also an organic farmer, said, “Sustainable farming and agriculture have a very bright future in Ireland.” She also congratulated all the participants and winners of the awards.
John Dardis, the RDS president, emphasized the importance of recognizing the work of farmers, foresters, and agri-entrepreneurs who contribute to the sustainable development of Irish agriculture. He pointed out that Irish agriculture remains the most important industry in rural Ireland. He added that this year’s Spring Agriculture and Forestry Award winners have achieved a balance between the economic and environmental needs of the sector.
The winners of the RDS Agriculture and Forestry Awards were selected based on their outstanding contributions to sustainable farming practices. The awards are a recognition of the innovativeness and dedication of farmers and agri-entrepreneurs in Ireland. The winners are:
– Des and Elaine Drew from Dublin won the Production Forestry Award
– Sean Creamer from Leitrim won the Teagasc Farm Forestry Award
– Knockranny Woods from Mayo won the Community Woodlands Award
– Brendan Meade from Meath won the Economic Breeding Index (EBI) Award, which recognizes the best dairy cow
– Gerard Collins from Clare won the Euro-Star Index Award, which recognizes the best beef cow
– Jim White from Tipperary won the Dairy Herd Index Award
– William McGrath from Cork won the Beef Herd Index Award
– William Hutchinson from Kilkenny won the LambPlus Breeders’ Index Award
Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Awards:
– Norman Dunne from Kildare won the Sustainable Farming Award
– Woolow from Galway won the Sustainable Agri Start-Up Award
– Honestly Farm Kitchen from Roscommon won the Sustainable Rural Enterprise Award
– BiaSol from Offaly won the Sustainable Rural Innovation Award
– The Grow Dome Project from Dublin won the Sustainable Rural Social Impact Award
The RDS Forestry Awards are made possible through the support of the DAFM and Teagasc. Forestry Award winners receive a cheque for €2,000, an RDS Silver Medal, and a Certificate of Merit.
Dardis recognized the importance of effective forestry management in carbon sequestration, which is one of the most effective tools available in tackling climate change and promoting sustainable agriculture. He commended the winners for setting the standard for others to follow in this regard, saying that what they have achieved is an inspiration to all involved in the future development of Irish agriculture.
The RDS Spring Agriculture and Forestry Awards is a platform for recognizing and promoting sustainable farming practices in Ireland. The awards celebrate the efforts of farmers and agri-entrepreneurs who have dedicated their lives to practising climate-smart farming and forestry. The winners of the awards have shown that it is possible to achieve a balance between the economic and environmental needs of the sector through experience, innovation, and dedication. The awards are a testament to the bright future of sustainable farming and agriculture in Ireland.