independent

Sunday 24 March 2019

Wexford growers win national awards

Pictured is the national winner in the Horticulture, Field Vegetable section, John B Dockrell (second from right) with farm manager, Paul Doran, receiving their presentation from Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, and Chairman, Dan MacSweeney at the Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Pictured is the national winner in the Horticulture, Field Vegetable section, John B Dockrell (second from right) with farm manager, Paul Doran, receiving their presentation from Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, and Chairman, Dan MacSweeney at the Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Pictured are Chris and John Fortune, from Kilmore Potatoes, receiving the Horticulture, Potatoes award, from Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, and Chairman, Dan MacSweeney. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

Brendan Keane

Two Wexford businesses have taken home top honours at this year's Bord Bia Origin Green Farm awards.

John B Dockrell Ltd, based in Screen, and Kilmore Potatoes took home the top awards within the horticulture section and in doing so fought off opposition from the best growers in the country.

John B Dockrells, which specialises in carrots and lettuce, won the award in the field vegetable category and impressed the judges with its knowledge and overall crop and soil husbandry practices.

The judges commented that the practices utilised by the business, allied to excellent water management, gave it an edge over the other finalists.

Brothers, John and Chris Fortune, with their company Kilmore Potatoes won the potato category having displayed 'impressive biodiversity measures' on their farm which includes 30 acres of uncropped land.

They were competing in a very competitive category with just two marks separating all of the finalists.

The judges were also impressed with the brothers' well thought-out strategy for variety selection and planting based on market analysis and demand.

The Wexford victors were among 11 category winners at the awards which are aimed at recognising Ireland's most sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly family farms.

There were over 240 people from within the farming sector and agri-food industry in attendance at the event.

In total there were 39 finalists and they qualified for the culmination of the competition having come through a rigorous process that included on-farm judging by teams composed of representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc, the Irish Farmers Journal, UCD and IT Blanchardstown.

Bord Bia's Chairperson, Dan MacSweeney, highlighted the importance of sustainable food production to the future of Irish farming and rural economies.

'This isn't just a win for industry,' he said.

'It translates into more value coming back to the rural economy right across Ireland as growth in sustainably produced food and drink delivers jobs and activity to local communities now and in the future,' he added.

Presenting the awards Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, paid tribute to the achievements of all the finalists: 'The pursuit of excellence by Origin Green farmers is at the heart of the Irish food and drink industry's export success.'

She said her organisation highlights such farms to food buyers as living examples of the highest values in Irish food production.

'When they visit these farms they see the commitment to protecting the land and its environment for future generations of food producers and consumers,' said Ms McCarthy.

'It is from this foundation that we can build durable relationships with food buyers for the food we export.'

All of the finalists will also be invited to participate in a Bord Bia organised visit to an overseas market to view how the organisation uses their achievements to win new business.

Wexford People

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