The overall winner of the Teagasc/FBD Insurance Student of the Year award was Conor Coakley from Co Cork, who attended the Teagasc Clonakilty Agricultural College.
Conor completed the Teagasc Level 6 advanced dairy progamme and is currently enrolled in Teagasc professional diploma in dairy farm management. He intends to establish a dairy herd on the family farm.
The Teagasc/FBD Insurance Student of the Year Awards were presented by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, in Dublin today (Tuesday, 17 April). Minister Creed said: “A significant pillar of our FoodWise 2025 ambitions is ensuring that the sector has the appropriate human capital inside and outside the farm gate to deliver upon its promise. Educating and training the brightest and best young farmers is a crucial part of this approach. I am truly delighted to join in today’s celebrations and I wish to pay particular tribute to all the finalists. I am confident that, notwithstanding various challenges, the future is very bright indeed for farming in Ireland, as reflected by the calibre of those who received awards today.”
The first runner-up award was presented to Hugh Massey from Co Limerick, who attended the agricultural college in Pallaskenry. Hugh also completed the Teagasc Level 6 advanced dairy programme and is currently co-managing the dairy herd on the family farm.
The second runner-up was Darren Walsh, Co Mayo, who studied at Teagasc Ballina Centre. Darren combines farming with an off-farm job.
The awards are made to the top 15 graduates of Teagasc Level 6 agricultural training programmes in 2017.
Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry BoyIe, congratulated all of the students on being finalists in the Student of the Year awards. “You have emerged as top of your year of those graduating with their agriculture qualifications in 2017. This is a credit to you and to your families and to the educators in Teagasc and private colleges and in the regional education centres. I would also like to thank FBD Insurance for their continued support, sponsoring the Student of the Year Awards since their inception over three decades ago,” Prof Boyle said.
Fiona Muldoon, chief executive of FBD insurance, said: “FBD Insurance continues to be a proud sponsor of the prestigious Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year awards. As Ireland’s leading farm insurer, we are committed to supporting each generation of Irish farming through our research grants, education sponsorships, farm safety campaigns and numerous other agri-sector funding initiatives. These nominees for the Teagasc/FBD Student of the Year award are among the next generation of farm leaders and innovators. More than ever, Irish agriculture needs bright able young people who are open to change and who will question, challenge and develop both themselves and our industry. On behalf of FBD, I warmly congratulate all of the participants on their achievements.”
The other finalists were:
- Debbie Sunderland, Co Wexford, Teagasc Carlow Centre
- David Lowe, Co Tipperary, Gurteen Agricultural College
- Terence Cronin, Co Cork, Teagasc Macroom Centre
- Kevin Byrne, Co Leitrim, Teagasc Manorhamilton Centre
- Damien McClearn, Co Galway, Teagasc Athenry Centre
- Gavin Canning, Co Mayo, Teagasc Ballinrobe Centre
- Tommy McLaughlin, Co Donegal, Teagasc Letterkenny Centre
- Jason Mullin, Co Galway, Mountbellew Agricultural College
- Gavin Brady, Co Cavan, Ballyhaise Agricultural College
- Brian Kelly, Co Clare, Teagasc Ennis Centre
- Barry Brady, Co Roscommon, Teagasc Longford Centre
- Bryan Lanigan, Co Kilkenny, Kildalton Agricultural College