Latest Laois Event: Multiple Laois farmers in running at Better Farming Awards

Latest Laois Event: Multiple Laois farmers in running at Better Farming Awards

Laois Finalists for Better Farming Awards

Laois boasts four finalists in this year’s FBD Better Farming Awards, awarding the highest levels of achievement made in the industry’s move towards a more sustainable sector.

The awards reward initiatives, research and practices that are helping Irish agriculture meet its economic, social and environmental challenges. They go beyond the headlines to recognise the real difference achieved by those who have excelled in various areas of agriculture.

Trevor Cobbe

The Laois finalists are –

Germinal Sustainable Pasture Farmer of the year

  • Trevor Cobbe

Kerry Dairy Environmental Farmer of the year

  • David Walsh Kemmis

FRS Network Diversification Farmer of the year

  • Brendan Guinan
Maria Phelan

Herdwatch Biodiversity Farmer of the year

  • Maria Phelan

Small Sustainable Food Producer of the year (under 20 employees)

  • Ballykilcavan Brewery
David Walsh Kemmis

By measuring grass regularly and targeting fertiliser properly over the last few years Trevor Cobbe has increased the productivity and sustainability of our grassland. Making small changes such as protected urea, incorporating clover, using LESS, and using good grassland management are key to grassland management on the farm.

Ballykilcavan Brewery is based on Ballykilcavan Farm, the home of the Walsh family for 13 generations since 1639. All Ballykilcavan beers are made with water and barley sourced from the farm. This gives the brewery control over its ingredients and lowers its carbon footprint while helping to ensure the viability of the farm. The farm is a mix of forestry and tillage and has a strong focus on biodiversity across it all. The farm is integrating regenerative agriculture practices into the tillage operation to improve soils, reduce inputs and sequester carbon. David has reduced fertiliser rates by 17%, cut carbon emissions by 30% and does not use any glyphosate or insecticides.

In four short years Brendan Guinan took 26 acres of neglected 30 year-old planted forest and turned it into a thriving regenerative agroforestry farm. Fiorhhia Farm is an example of how farming and food production can have a positive impact on nature, animal care, human health and environmental restoration of air and soil.

Brendan Guinan

Maria believes an organic system has many co-benefits that will allow biodiversity to thrive on her farm. Methods such as hay meadow plots, crop rotation, laying hedges and no use of chemical fertiliser or spray means that healthy and fertile soil provide a platform to promote and encourage biodiversity.

The inaugural Better Farming Awards gala evening presentations will take place in the Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Laois on Thursday November 30, 2023.