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Monday 24 July 2017

Waterford farmer takes 'Student of the Year' title from Teagasc

The 2016 winner of the Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year award is Shane Fitzgerald from Kilmagemogue, Portlaw, Co Waterford, with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, Fiona Muldoon, Chief Executive of FBD Insurance and Prof Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc.
The 2016 winner of the Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year award is Shane Fitzgerald from Kilmagemogue, Portlaw, Co Waterford, with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, Fiona Muldoon, Chief Executive of FBD Insurance and Prof Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc.
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Shane Fitzgerald, a dairy farmer from Waterford, has been awarded the prestigious Teagasc and FBD ‘Student of the Year 2016’ title.

The 26-year-old, who completed his Green Cert at Kildalton Agricultural College, was presented with the award by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed at a ceremony in Dublin today.

First runner-up was awarded to Gary Clarke, Tuam, Co Galway who studied at the Agricultural College in Mountbellew. Second runner-up award went to Shane Dolan, Athlone, Co Westmeath who attended Gurteen Agricultural College.

On accepting his award Shane, who milks 165 cows in partnership with his father on their 250 acre farm, thanked his family and girlfriend who also attended the event at the Merrion Hotel.

“I cant’ thank my family enough for their support over the years. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices and it wouldn’t be possible without them”.

Shane, who also holds a business degree from Waterford Institute of Technology, says he has always had a passion for farming and encourages young farmers to educate themselves.

“There are a lot of young farmers out there with a lot of drive and passion who want to make things happen. It’s important to spend time in education and to value what you can learn from your peers. It’s about constantly improving yourself,” he said.

Minister Creed described all 12 finalists as “leaders of the future”.


“In achieving such high standards, you are well placed to make a strong contribution to the development of the largest indigenous sector in the country. This expanding export orientated sector will benefit greatly from the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm that these young people will bring.

“I would like to express my appreciation to Teagasc for their commitment to education and training in the agri-food sector and to FBD Insurance for their continuing sponsorship,” he said.

Director of Teagasc, professor Gerry Boyle recognised the support of FBD in sponsoring the awards and other Teagasc initiatives aimed at improving farm efficiency and profitability.  

“Today’s finalists, like most Teagasc graduates are, or will become, the owners of a farm. Essentially Teagasc are educating future business owners. How we educate people for the role of business owner will be critically important,” he said.

Fiona Muldoon, chief executive of FBD Insurance, reflected on the company’s commitment to supporting farmers and farm education.

“Through our research grants and education sponsorships such as this one and through our many farm safety and other initiatives, FBD uniquely partners with Irish farmers for the development of farming and of rural Ireland.”

Other finalists included: Martin Alexander, Lifford, Co Donegal, Eamonn Gallagher, Mallow, Co Cork, Linda Hanbidge, Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, Robert Horan, Thurles, Co Tipperary,  Melissa Jeuken, Kilnaboy, Co Clare, John Kelly, Dromard, Co Sligo, Felicity O'Brien, Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, Niall O'Sullivan, Rosscarbery, Co Cork and Ciaran Taaffe, Collon, Co Louth

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