Rising star with an impressive work ethic
Liam Myles - formerly of Teagasc - and myself had the pleasure of judging the Rising Star category for the 2015 Zurich/Farming Independent awards recently. The winner was Gary Drought, a 21-year-old farmer from Birr, Co Offaly.
Raised on the family dairy and cattle farm, Gary was involved in the farm from the beginning, contributing much needed labour at busy times and learning the full range of farm skills from his father, Ralph. His interest and dedication to farming was furthered by a year in Gurteen leading to the Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture. He then took a year out to work on a large (22,000 acres) suckling farm in Canada. He did this for two reasons - to make money to invest in his future on the family farm and, on dad Ralph's advice, to widen his experience.
Next up is completing his Level 6 Certificate in Agriculture next September to prepare for his career in farming.
He will also gain more experience by working on farms with the Farm Relief Services - and he will continue to be involved in the running of the family farm business. Clearly, he's a young man undaunted by hard work.