Industry celebrated at 11th annual Farming Life Awards

The 11th annual Farming Life Awards were held last night, celebrating excellence within Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.

Award nominees and guests gathered in the Crown Plaza Belfast for a gala dinner, with the evening hosted by TV presenter and journalist, Adrian Logan.

Keynote speaker was Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots.

This year's Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to agricultural contractor, John Dan O’Hare, from Annaclone, near Banbridge in County Down.

Compare Adrian Logan, Joanne Knox Farming Life, Minister of Agriculture Edwin Poots and Ruth Rodgers Editor of Farming Life at the Farming Life Awards.Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

Mr O’Hare began his business with just one tractor back in 1962, working long hours to make it the success it is today.

He has also raised money for many charities over the years, with an open day held at his yard raising £40,000 for local causes.

Speaking at last night’s event, Farming Life Editor, Ruth Rodgers, said: “This year, as always, entries across all categories exceeded our expectations.

"It has made judging an incredibly difficult task, but one that has filled us with admiration for all those who contribute to the most successful but challenging industry in Northern Ireland.”

She continued: “We are fortunate that we have an industry which has resilience and a ‘can do’ attitude at its core. And, I have no doubt that our farmers will adapt and evolve to meet the challenges head on.”

Award Winners:

Nature Friendly Farm of the Year, sponsored by Nature Friendly Farming Network – James and David Bonner

Young Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Asda – Bronagh O'Kane

Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Northstone (NI) Ltd – Tom Craig

Lifetime Achievement, sponsored by Tesco – John Dan O'Hare

Unsung Hero Award, sponsored by AFBI – Ciaran McCaughan

Agri Student/Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Daera – Timothy Davidson

Farm Diversification Award, key partner Cranswick – Hunters Vending

Sustainable Initiative Award, sponsored by RG Woodland Services – The Nature Friendly Farming Network

Training Initiative Award, sponsored by Lantra – Joe Mulholland

Event of the Year, sponsored by MSD Animal Health – The Balmoral Show

Innovation in Agriculture, sponsored by Moy Park – AHV UK & IE

Farm Safety Affiliate Award, sponsored by HSENI – Lantra

Family Business of the Year, sponsored by Yara – Eringold Milk Replacers

Agri-Food Business/Impact of the Year, sponsored by Kerry Foods – Ballyboley Dexters