French honour Ploughing chief for services to agriculture

Managing director Anna May McHugh awarded Ordre du Mérite Agricole medal

Eamon Tracey talks us through his methods when competing, and his aspiration for the perfect plough. Video: Ronan McGreevy


The French government has honoured National Ploughing Championships managing director Anna May McHugh for her services to agriculture.

French ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault presented her with an Ordre du Mérite Agricole medal at the French embassy pavilion at the championships.

It is the first time the French embassy has had a pavilion at the event.

Mr Thébault said there was no more fitting recipient of such an honour as “almost from the time she was born, she was thinking, acting and working for agriculture”.

He praised the entrepreneurship that has made the National Ploughing Championships the largest outdoor agricultural show in Europe and “by far” the biggest agricultural championships.

Dozen journalists

The presentation ceremony was attended by a dozen European agricultural journalists who were brought to the event by the European Commission.

Ms McHugh, who has been involved with the championships since 1948, said she would accept the honour with “great pleasure and I will wear [the medal] every chance I can”.

She said she was accepting not on her own behalf but on behalf of the team that puts the championships together.

Ms McHugh will on Thursday announce where next year’s championships will be located. Among the locations being mentioned is Tullamore, Co Offaly.