Industry excellence in spotlight

Laura McMullan and Ruth Rodgers from Farming Life pictured with John Dan O�"Hare at the Farming Life Awards in La Mon Hotel on Thursday night. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Laura McMullan and Ruth Rodgers from Farming Life pictured with John Dan O�"Hare at the Farming Life Awards in La Mon Hotel on Thursday night. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

The Northern Ireland farming industry turned out in force last night for the ninth annual Farming Life awards in association with Cranswick Country Foods.

The La Mon Hotel and Country Club provided the back drop for the annual agricultural showcase which rewards excellence in all sectors of the industry.

Speakers included deputy president of the Ulster Farmers Union, David Brown, and Farming Life editor Ruth Rodgers.

Welcoming the nominees, award winners and guests Mrs Rodgers said the awards aim to quite simply celebrate excellence in agriculture.

She contiinued: “Anyone who runs any type of farm business knows that it is not an easy task – not only are you at the mercy of the markets and the weather, but there is also a huge gamut of regulations and checks to meet – quite rightly – to ensure that the security of the industry is protected. So it is appropriate that we hold this event each year to shine a light on the farmers and businesses who are excelling in what they do.”

One of the key winners on the night was veteran UUP MEP Jim Nicholson who stepped out of the political spotlight earlier this year after over three decades of public service.

Full list of award winners:

Agri Food Business of the Year: Hillstown Farm Shop & Brewery, sponsored by Golden Cow

Young Farmer of the Year: Kile Diamond, sponsored by ASDA

Agricultural Student of the Year: Geoff Thompson, sponsored by DAERA

Commitment to Training Award: Cranswick Country Foods Ltd, sponsored by LANTRA

Vet of the Year: Claire McCabe Craemill Veterinary Clinic

Artisan Producer of the Year: Irish Black Butter, sponsored by AJS Promotions

Agricultural Retailer/Store of the Year: Joseph Walls Ltd, sponsored by Tesco

Conservation & Environment Award: Kelsie & David Erskine, sponsored by RSPB

Woman of Excellence in Agriculture: Aurelie Moralis, sponsored by Creagh Concrete

Unsung Hero Award: John Dan O’Hare, sponsored by AFBI

Farmer of the Year: James Alexander, sponsored by Devenish Nutrition

Farm Safety Award: Farm Safety Foundation, sponsored by Farm Safety Partnership

Farm Diversification of the Year: Mash Direct, sponsored by Alltech

Promotional Agricultural Initiative: ABP – Angus Youth Challenge

Farming Family of the Year: The Wilson Family, sponsored by KARRO Cookstown

Local Agricultural Show/Event of the Year: Clogher Valley Show, sponsored by Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors

Innovation in Agriculture: AHV UK & Ireland – Adam Robinson, sponsored by Moy Park

Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim Nicholson, sponsored by Cranswick Country Foods