Mayo dairy farmer named Teagasc student of the year

Winner milks 103 cows and is ‘passionate about dairy farming’

Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 19:00

A dairy farmer from Claremorris, Co Mayo has won this year’s Teagasc Student of the Year award. Kevin Moran did an advanced certificate in agriculture at Mountbellew Agricultural College and set himself up as a new milk supplier. He is now milking 103 cows and was described by the judges as “passionate about dairy farming and grass management”.

The first runner-up award went to Sarah Claxton from Kilminin, Stradbally, Co Waterford who studied dairy herd management at Kildalton Agricultural College. She is involved in a farm partnership arrangement, milking 320 Jersey cross Friesian cows.

The second runner-up award went to Gerard Connolly from Doohamlet, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. He returned to Ireland three years ago after spending nine years in the UK and went to Ballyhaise Agricultural College where he studied farm administration. He has gone into partnership with his uncle on a 51 hectare farm and has increased the dairy herd from 50 to 85 cows.

Presenting the awards in Dublin today, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the agri-food sector would benefit greatly from the skills, knowledge and motivation that these young people would bring to their work.

Teagasc director Prof Gerry Boyle said the ten finalists were selected as the best from the thousands of people participating in agricultural courses. Some 3,700 people are studying Teagasc-run education courses and provisional CAO results for 2014 show an increase of almost ten per cent for some courses on Teagasc-linked higher education programmes. Teagasc head of education Tony Pettit said CAP proposals introducing top-up payments for young farmers was generating exceptional demand for its part time and distance education courses.

l The other finalists were: Craig Lovett, Kilnaleck, Co Cavan; Gerry Roseingrave, Ennis, Co Clare; Thomas Paul McNally, Quigleys Point, Co Donegal; Christina Brosnan, Killarney, Co Kerry; Shane Joyce, Castlebar, Co Mayo; Diarmuid Scannell, Macroom, Co Cork and Seán Murphy, St Mullins, Co Carlow.