Nominations sought for Farming Independent Farmer of the Year Awards 2016

Members are encouraged to submit nominations for the equestrian award of the Zurich Farm Insurance/Farming Independent Farmer of the Year Awards.

The awards are all about recognising and rewarding the very best in Irish Farming. The Awards are now in their third year and will take place on Friday 20th May in Dublin’s Ballsbridge Hotel. There are eight categories available to enter as well as a Lifetime achievement and the overall Farmer of the Year 2016. Included in the awards is the ‘Equestrian Business of the Year’ category, sponsored by Land Rover. The award is open to all areas of equestrianism.

Last year’s winner, Darragh O’Neill, is strongly encouraging people to nominate their established and fledgling equestrian businesses for the 2016 Zurich Farm Insurance/Farming Independent Farmer of the Year Awards. Together with his brother Alan, Mr O’Neill runs Abbeyfield Farm outside Clane, Co Kildare. The 250-acre farm is home to a hugely successful livery yard, in addition to a cross-country course, and numerous other outdoor activities.

“After we won it last year we were able to promote our business so much more,” he said. “This award is held in high esteem and within a few months we definitely saw a marked increase in business. I would strongly encourage people with an equestrian business to enter, or perhaps nominate someone else.”

In 2014 Darragh O’Neill’s entry had finished a close second to Tipperary-based pinhooker Rory Maher, who last year continued his upward curve in the bloodstock industry with such stable graduates as Premier Currency, Still On Top and Arpinati. Following his win at the time, he said: “A part of the entry process I found it a good exercise to go through the list and see what horses we’d had at the farm. The money (€2,500) will go towards doing some more work on the 17 acres I rent from my father.”

The closing date for entries is Friday, 8th April. Award winners will share a prize fund of €20,000 which will be presented at a glitzy ceremony in The Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin. The competition is run in conjunction with Zurich Insurance, and with categories sponsored by ICMSA, ICSA, Teagasc, Landrover and the Health and Safety Authority. For more information and to nominate an equestrian business for the award visit

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