The Grassland Farmer of the Year competition for 2020 was officially launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary, T.D at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Dublin this week.
This competition will recognise and acknowledge those farmers who are achieving high levels of grass utilisation in a sustainable manner.
The objective of the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition is to promote excellence in grassland management among all livestock farmers, dairy, beef and sheep producers.
The Grassland Farmer of the Year competition is being run as part of the Teagasc Grass10 grassland campaign. The focus of Grass 10 is on encouraging grassland farmers to grow and utilise more grass in the animal’s diet. The aim is to help farmers utilise 10 tonnes grass dry matter per hectare per annum, with 10 grazings per paddock per year.
Speaking at the launch Minister Dara Calleary said: "This competition highlights the critical role that grass plays in sustainable livestock based food production systems. Grass gives the Irish livestock sector a cost advantage in the form of an environmentally sustainable feed source."
The Grassland Farmer of the Year competition is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Teagasc, Allied Irish Bank, FBD Insurance, Grassland Agro and Irish Farmers Journal.
Coordinator of the Teagasc Grass10 Campaign, John Maher said: "We want to encourage farmers, across the country and across enterprises to optimise the use of the valuable resource that grass is on Irish farms. We urge livestock farmers to enter the Grassland Farmer of the Year competition, to test their grass growing skills against the best in the country."
The competition has seven categories with an overall prize fund of €30,000. Enterprise awards include Dairy, Sheep, Beef Suckling and non-suckling categories. Other categories include Disadvantaged Land winner, Sustainable Farming winner and a Young Farmer (under 30 years ) category winner. The young farmer category can include entrants that are farm managers or farming in a collaborative arrangement.
Entry forms are available on https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/grassland/grass10/grassland-farmer-of-the-year-2020/ and from local Teagasc advisory offices, from [email protected] or by phoning (025 ) 42457. Completed application forms should be submitted on, or before Monday, August 31.