Outstanding in his field ... farmer wins first Irish Independent prize
TILLAGE farmer Kevin Nolan scooped the top prize in the inaugural Zurich 'Farming Independent' Farmer of the Year competition, at a glitzy awards ceremony in Dublin last night.
The 36-year-old, who farms over 1,000 acres of mostly leased land in and around the parish of Bennekerry just outside Carlow town, beat off stiff competition from entrants from all over the country to scoop €7,500 in cash and prizes.
Over 250 finalists and industry representatives attended the awards night, which was the culmination of weeks of judging and short-listing in what is the only national competition that caters to every type of farm enterprise.
There was also a lifetime achievement award presented to Denis Brosnan, who played a formative role in the establishment of Ireland's largest food company, Kerry Group.
Other winners on the night included David Moore from Stamullen in Co Meath (dairy); David and Paula Johnson from Redcross, Co Wicklow (beef) and Gordon and Yvonne Johnston from Tyrellspass, Co Westmeath (sheep).
Irish Independent 'Farming' editor Declan O'Brien said he was overwhelmed by the level of interest that the competition generated.
"We're delighted to be able to be part of an initiative that gives every farmer in the country a chance to get the recognition that they deserve."