Thursday 29 September 2016

Tuam stars - two innovators honoured

Published 11/05/2016 | 02:30

TJ Gormley studied at Warrenstown Agricultural College.
TJ Gormley studied at Warrenstown Agricultural College.
John Concannon (right), who received the Lifetime Achievement Award 2016, with Michael Flanagan, CEO, National Livestock Hall of Fame Awards.

Two Tuam innovators who have become household names among livestock farmers have been honoured for their lifetime contributions to the sector.

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The first National Livestock Hall of Fame 'Farmers Oscar' has been presented to TJ Gormley, founder of Cormac Sheep Equipment and Tuam Farm Supplies, and the Lifetime Achievement Award has been awarded to John Concannon of JFC Plastics.

TJ (pictured) grew up on a sheep farm near Tuam and studied at Warrenstown Agricultural College. He says that his "love of sheep was always to the fore", so much so that he played a leading role in the introduction of the Beltex breed to Ireland more than 20 years ago.

Over the last 30 years he also developed and supplied sheep handling equipment to farmers all over the country, winning RDS awards on 10 occasions for his innovations. In 2001, he set up Cormac Tagging Ltd which now has a 30pc share of the market for tags for sheep, goats and pigs.

The last three decades have been one success after another for John Concannon.

His first product was a multi-bucket calf feeder, which was so novel in 1987 that it featured on the Late Late Show. Fast forward 30 years and his company's progressive range of plastic products for livestock farmers is a global success.

He also supplies products to the equestrian, recycling, and construction sectors and JFC now has a presence in 40 international markets.

"I was the oldest of five and the one that did not go to school. I left St Jarlath's at 14 years and went to work with my father. My first introduction to livestock was attending the street fairs at a time when the main breeds were Shorthorn and black Pollys (Angus) and a few Herefords which were the cream of the crop," said John after receiving his award.

He recalled that his father, Joe was a "wheeler dealer" which meant regular attendance at cattle fairs all over the region every month with him.

"He always told me to remember three things - buy, pay and bring. That was a great inspiration to me because little did I realise that down the road, JFC Plastics would be a great fairy tale.

"When we started in 1987, I had no idea that it would reach where it is today which is due to our farmer customers," added John.

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