The awards recognise excellence in agri-innovation and the winners were selected from a very strong entry of 80 innovative Irish companies, of whom 30 were shortlisted in July 2014 as 2014 Finalists.
The Overall Winner of the Innovation Arena Award was The Falcon Forwarder, the only Irish build forestry forwarder, built by Marcia Franklin, Oldcastle Co. Meath.
The forwarder is competitively priced and designed with due regard to environmentally sensitive forestry sites. It has an eight-wheeled articulated machine used to transport logs from the forest floor.
It has a hydraulic timber crane and grapple which is used to load logs on to the machine’s trailer, known as a bunk. It has a ground clearance of 500mm with a track system allowing the machine to be used on sensitive sites. The Falcon is claimed to be the first Irish-built mini-forwarder and to be technically superior to other mini-forwarders on the market today.
The category Award winners are:
Commenting on the awards Minister Bruton congratulated all the winners and recognised the level of innovation in the agricultural sector. “My department, through Enterprise Ireland is fully committed to providing all the resources necessary to encourage more startups in the agri-tech sector.”
Justin McCarthy, Editor & Chief Executive of the Irish Farmers Journal added that “innovation is the key to securing the future of any business and agriculture is no different in this regard. We must continue to be innovative in how we use the latest technology to reduce labour, increase productivity, and develop market share in an increasingly competitive global market.”
Anna May McHugh, Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association added “we are delighted to work with Toplink.ie and Enterprise Ireland on the Innovation Arena. This timely initiative is a fantastic addition to the annual Ploughing Championships and we hope that it becomes an annual event.”
Denis Duggan, Regional Executive with Enterprise Ireland said “ we are delighted to be associated with these awards and our first involvement in the Innovation Arena at the Ploughing Championships has been a great success. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with all the winners in developing their international business.”