The RDS, has, today (Thursday, June 17th), announced the winners of its 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Awards.
The society made the presentation virtually in what is a first in its 290-year history.
Usually presented in front of a live audience in the RDS Concert Hall as part of the RDS Spring Awards, the judging and presenting of the 2020 Awards were delayed due to Covid-19’s impact.
The RDS Sustainable Agriculture Awards recognise Irish farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, and innovators, and celebrate “their work in meeting the sustainability challenge”.
Nick and Jack Cotter of Dromtransna, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick took the Rural Innovation Award for their lamb handling system, the Cotter Crate. It facilitates the quick, safe, easy, and accurate administration of doses, drenches, and vaccines to lambs from 3 weeks of age.
The Little Milk Company
Dungarvan-based, the Little Milk Company, were winners of the Sustainable Enterprise Award. They started out with a simple concept of distribution of organic milk from ten dairy herds. They quickly moved to add value to their product resulting in award-winning cheeses and international exports.
Husband and wife, Ben, and Charlotte Colchester of Drumeen farm, Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny scooped the Sustainable Farming Award.
They have been passionate about organic farming since the 1970s and paved the way for many other organic food producers that have followed.
Over many years they have also shown how biodiversity can be incorporated into high-efficiency farming. In recent years, they have produced their own award-winning Second Nature Oils.
2020 Sustainable Agriculture Awards
Mark Gibson, Teagasc, and member of the RDS Sustainable Agriculture Awards judging panel, said: “It was an honour and a pleasure to see the quality and diversity of the award applicants through the judging process.”
“I would like to congratulate all the winners and thank them for welcoming us over recent weeks to see their work first-hand.”
“It is important that we learn from these examples so that others can be inspired by their success.”
Geraldine Ruane, Chief Executive of the RDS, said: “The high standard of today’s winners and runners-up demonstrates that the move towards greater sustainability, both environmentally and economically, is well underway.”
“Greater innovation and sustainability is key for the continued prosperity of rural Ireland. We all need to play our part in contributing to this ongoing transition.”
The winners in each category received €2,000 prize money, an RDS Silver Medal and a certificate of merit. Runners up received €1,000 and a certificate of merit.
Doirin Graham, Clare Local Development Company, and member of the RDS Sustainable Agriculture Awards judging panel added: “These have been extraordinary times. I would like to commend my colleagues on the judging panel for their dedication over the past year in reviewing the applications and judging these awards.”
The society has expended awards in 2021 to include new categories for agri start-ups and social impact.
The closing date for 2021 entries is July 30th. You can find details here.