Cereals farmer ploughs to the top of his game
A 35-YEAR-OLD tillage farmer from Carlow has been hailed as the best farmer in Ireland following his win in the inaugural Zurich Farming Independent Farmer of the Year competition at a ceremony in Dublin on Friday night.
Kevin Nolan, who farms more than 1,000 acres of cereals on mostly leased land in and around the parish of Bennekerry just outside Carlow town, beat entrants from all over the country to scoop €7,500 in cash and prizes.
More than 250 finalists and industry representatives attended the awards, which also saw a lifetime achievement award being presented to Kerry native Denis Brosnan for his formative role in the establishment of Ireland's largest food company, Kerry Group.
He told the packed banquet that he was "humbled and honoured" to be receiving the award 10 years on from his retirement from the €8bn company that he helped create.
"I loved working with farmers, and it was a wonderful industry to be part of, where everybody is salt of the earth," he said.
He also paid tribute to the other eight award winners on the night.
"Kerry's success is built on all its effort being put behind what they are good at. It's obvious that the eight category winners here tonight know what they are good at and are focused on pursuing that."
Other winners on the night included: David Moore, from Stamullen in Co Meath (dairy); David and Paula Johnson from Redcross, Wicklow (beef); Gordon and Yvonne Johnston from Tyrellspass, Westmeath (sheep); Rory Maher from Templemore, Tipperary (equestrian); Ronan Byrne from Athenry, Galway (rising star); Thomas Moloney from Cahir, Tipperary (contractor); and Joe and Paul Finnegan from Navan, Co Meath (alternative).