The 2020 RDS Sustainable Agriculture award winners have been announced, after the competition’s judging and award presentation were delayed with the onset of pandemic restrictions.

The winners were announced at an online event on Thursday 17 June, hosted by the RDS in lieu of an in-person award presentation ceremony.

The winner of each award category secured a €2,000 reward, an RDS silver medal and a certificate of merit.

The runner-up in each of the categories received €1,000 cash and a certificate of merit, in recognition of their achievements in the competition.

“It is important that we learn from these examples so that others can be inspired by their success,” stated Teagasc’s Mark Gibson, who was a member of the awards judging panel.

“Our 2020 award winners are excellent examples of how it is possible to balance economic, environmental and social sustainability,” he said.

Rural innovation

Winners of the RDS 2020 sustainable rural innovation award for their lamb handling system, Nick and Jack Cotter. / RDS

Nick and Jack Cotter of Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, scooped the top prize in the rural innovation award category.

The Cotter brothers designed a lamb-handling system for the safe and easy administration of animal health products.

It was IT Tralee’s Biorefinery Glas entry that claimed the runner-up title for rural innovation at the RDS awards.

Rural enterprise

Winners of the 2020 rural enterprise category, the Dungarvan-based and organically supplied Little Milk Company. / RDS

Dungarvan’s Little Milk Company secured the lead rural enterprise award for its added-value organic dairy business.

The business has been developed by a group of organic milk suppliers and currently retails its dairy products internationally.

Castlecomer Discovery Park picked up the runner-up award in this competition grouping.

Sustainable farming

Husband and wife team Ben and Charlotte Colchester of Drumeen farm scooped the sustainable farming award for their organic and biodiverse Co Kilkenny holding. / RDS

Ben and Charlotte Colchester of Drumeen Farm, Co Kilkenny, were awarded the sustainable farming title for the husband and wife’s high-effeciency, biodiverse organic farming enterprise.

The runner-up position was awarded to Mark Hurst of Featherfield Farm, Co Kildare, in the sustainable farming category.