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Roscommon man wins 2014 Teagasc Student of the Year award
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Roscommon man wins 2014 Teagasc Student of the Year award

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Edward Payne from Castlerea in Co Roscommon is the 2014 winner of the Teagasc Student of the Year award. The awards were presented on Tuesday in Dublin by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD.
Edward Payne from Castlerea in Co Roscommon is the 2014 winner of the Teagasc Student of the Year award. The awards were presented on Tuesday in Dublin by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD.

The winner of the Student of the Year award, Edward Payne, has completed a level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration at the Agricultural College in Mountbellew in Co Galway. He also jointly manages the family farm with his father. Originally it was a suckler and sheep farm, but five years ago the decision was made to convert to dairy farming and 140 dairy heifers were purchased.

Edward now manages the dairy enterprise which has since expanded to 260 cows.

The young farmer is convinced of the need to use genomic bulls and in 2014 the replacement heifer calves had an EBI of 202. Edwards aims to maximize milk from grass with concentrates kept to just 0.5 tonne per cow per annum. He measures and budgets grass weekly and has an ongoing grass reseeding programme.

Impressively, his goal is to establish another dairy farm within the next five years. He works very closely with his Teagasc Adviser, Seamus Nolan, and is involved in two farmer discussion groups.

Speaking at the awards, Minister Simon Coveney congratulated the 13 finalists who were chosen from almost 800 students who completed agricultural training programmes with Teagasc in 2014: "I congratulate all of the finalists on reaching this stage of the competition. It is a great achievement and a proud day for you and your families. The influx of so many enthusiastic, well trained young people is a very positive development for the agricultural sector, which will benefit greatly from your skills, knowledge and enthusiasm in the years ahead."

The minister also said he would like to express his appreciation to Teagasc for their strong commitment to agricultural education and to FBD Trust for their ongoing sponsorship of these awards, which are now in their 30th year.

The first runner up award for the Student of the Year went to Michael Kennedy, Bridestown, Glenville, Co Cork and the second went to James Kealy from Bendenstown, Rathoe in Co Carlow.

Congratulating all of the finalists, Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry BoyIe said that he was impressed with the high calibre of student receiving the awards. “You have done extremely well and made full use of the opportunity that the education courses provide."

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