50 farmers in awards shake-up
Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30
Over 50 farms have progressed to the penultimate stage of the Zurich Farming Independent Farmer of the Year awards, with the publication of the long list today.
Each of the farmers will now be subjected to more detailed analysis before a short-list of finalists is chosen for each of the eight categories.
The finalists are in with a chance to win share in the prize fund that will see the overall winner walk away with €6,500.
However, before the finalists reach the glitzy presentation night in Dublin's Ballsbridge Hotel, they will be visited by a panel of three specialist judges to get a complete impression about the finalists' achievements.
There are separate categories for beef, sheep, dairy, tillage, and equestrian. The alternative category covers everything from potatoes to forestry to tourism, while there is also a category promting young blood in the sector called Rising Star.
In addition, a special section has been reserved this year to highlight farms that have gone the extra yard on safety. Each winner will receive a cheque for €2,500.
There will also be a lifetime achievement award to recognise the exceptional contribution of an individual to the Irish agri-sector.
Traditional farming areas are well represented among the long-listed candidates, but with six farmers, Monaghan has more through to this stage than any other county.
Last year's winner was top tillage farmer Kevin Nolan from Co Carlow.