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The Venue

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

RDS Spring Awards

A thriving rural Ireland is as central to the RDS mission today as when the Society was first founded.

The RDS Spring Agriculture and Forestry Awards are a rare occasion in which farmers across all sectors come together to celebrate all they have achieved. The goal of the RDS Agriculture and Rural Affairs programme is to promote best practice and efficiency in farming to ensure farm household profitability and sustainability in Ireland. Livestock farmers, foresters and in future years, agri-entrepreneurs will come together to both celebrate their achievements and learn from each other.

With a prize fund of €22,000, the RDS Spring Agriculture and Forestry Awards celebrate and promote the principles of climate-smart agriculture. Building on a name from the past, but firmly focused on the future of the sector, the Awards will recognise the very best farmers, foresters and agri-innovators.

The 2019 RDS Spring Agriculture and Forestry Awards took place in the RDS Concert Hall on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.


RDS-Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards

The twin goals of promoting the economic and environmental benefits of good forestry and farming is the underlying motivation behind these Awards. All woodland owners and managers are encouraged to enter the Awards as all woodlands, large or small, are of merit. There are four categories which can be entered. 


RDS Livestock Awards

The RDS Livestock Awards showcase the most efficient livestock producers in Ireland by rewarding and celebrating farmers combining the best science and best agricultural practices. These Awards build upon the RDS Spring Show which was known the length and breadth of Ireland for showcasing the best livestock in the country.

The RDS Livestock Awards are the only awards of their kind in Ireland that recognise the genetic merit of animals based on scientific indexes. The awards are linked to the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF) and Sheep Ireland databases. ICBF and Sheep Ireland base their decision on the data available to them so the RDS are truly celebrating and highlighting the most productive, most efficient farmers and livestock in the country.


There are five awards presented in this category:

  •  Economic Breeding Index (EBI) Award - Best Dairy Cow
  •  Euro-Star Replacement Index Award - Best Beef Cow
  •  Dairy Herd Index Award
  •  Beef Herd Index Award
  •  LambPlus Breeders Index Award


The goal of the RDS Agriculture and Rural Affairs work programme is to promote best practice and efficiency in farming to ensure farm household profitability and sustainability in Ireland; a work programme now influenced by the RDS / IIEA work on Climate Smart Agriculture. The Awards, which encourage innovation and improvement in the Irish cattle breeding sector have grown into one of the most prestigious awards in the cattle breeding calendar.


2019 Award Winners

• Economic Breeding Index Award - Liam Leahy, Co. Cork

• Euro-Star Replacement Index Award - Henry Noel O’Connor of Co. Roscommon

• Dairy Herd Index Award - Michael Bradley, Co. Cork

• Beef Herd Index Award - Patrick Drohan, Co. Waterford

• LambPlus Breeders Index Award - Jim and Frampton Jeffrey, Co. Cork

For further information, please contact:


RDS Sustainable Farming Sustainable Living Awards

In addition to the current livestock and forestry categories, the RDS is introducing a new category for 2019 focused on Sustainable Farming and Sustainable Living. This new category will celebrate the work of individuals, farm families, farm businesses and community organisations who are enhancing the economic, environmental and social development of Irish agriculture and rural communities. There will also be a special Ceres Sustainability Champion Award presented on the day to an individual or organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to climate-smart agriculture in Ireland.

Award categories:

Sustainable Farming

This award celebrates the efforts made by an individual or farm family who are adding value to their on-farm activities through entrepreneurship, new product development, and marketing.

Sustainable Living

This award recognises individuals and organisations who are making a significant contribution to the economic, environmental, and social development, of rural Ireland.


The Agri-innovation award recognises individuals and companies who have applied science and technology to help deliver the principles of climate-smart agriculture such as greater efficiency, reduced waste and increased profitability.


Ceres Sustainability Champion

The Ceres Award will be presented to an individual, company or organisation who in the opinion of the Judges has played an instrumental role in the long-term sustainable development of Irish agriculture and rural affairs.

2019 Award Winners

  •  Sustainable Farming Award – Ailbhe Gerard, Brookfield Farm, Co. Tipperary
  •  Sustainable Living Award – Leahy’s Open Farm, Co. Cork
  •  Agri-Innovation Award – Smart Farming Programme, the Irish Farmers Association
  •  Ceres Sustainability Champion – Self Help Africa 


For further information, please contact:

Paul Farrelly
RDS Agriculture Programme Manager
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0) 1 240 7215
Email: agriculture@rds.ie

RDS Forest and Woodland Awards

The Irish Forest and Woodland Awards recognise and reward farmers and woodland owners that have adopted Climate-Smart Agricultural practices on their properties. These practices include sound commercial management, environmental protection, and bio diversity. The twin goals of promoting the economic and environmental benefits of good forestry and farming are fundamental to what the RDS hopes to achieve through its agriculture and rural affairs programme.

There are three prize categories for the Awards:

  1.  Production Forestry
  2.  Teagasc Farm Forestry Award
  3.  Community Woodlands

Production Forestry

The Production Forestry Category is open to Farmers and landowners using sound silvicultural management on their farms. This award aims to recognise excellence in the management of production forestry.

While the focus is on the management of the area for wood production, judges will also review diversity of species, particularly the presence of native trees such as Ash, Birch, Oak, Willow, etc., to ensure greater efficiency and quality in the development of the sector.

Teagasc Farm Forestry Award

The Teagasc Farm Forestry Award recognises working farmers who are integrating forestry and farming for environmental, social and economic benefits. The category aims to promote the positive sustainable contribution of forestry as an integral enterprise within the wider farming profile. It acknowledges the farmer’s role in actively managing the forest and promoting tree planting to strengthen wider farming sustainability.

Community Woodlands

The Community Woodland Award is designed to encourage and reward projects involving the communal ownership and/or management of forests and woodlands which have been established and managed in a sustainable way that is beneficial to the local economy and/or environment.

Entry is open to woodland-related community-based projects including participants in the NeighbourWoods Scheme and amenity forestry projects. Entrants should also be able to demonstrate significant and sustained community input.


  • With a prize fund of €9,000, all woodland owners and managers are encouraged to enter the Awards as all woodlands, large or small, are of merit
  • The winner in each of the above categories will receive €2,000 and an RDS Silver Medal
  • The runner-up in each category will receive €1,000 and an RDS Certificate of Merit

2019 Award Winners

  • Production Forestry Award Winner – Irish Forestry Unit Trust, Clonad Woodlands, Co. Offaly
  • Production Forestry Award Runner up – Patrick J. O’Reilly, Co. Cavan
  • Multipurpose Forestry Award Winner – Coillte Teoranta, Cratloe Woods, Co. Limerick
  • Multipurpose Forestry Award Runner up – Matt Fogarty, Co. Tipperary
  • Teagasc Farm Forestry Award Winner – Gerard Deegan, Co. Westmeath
  • Teagasc Farm Forestry Award Runner up – Thomas Pollard, Co. Tipperary
  • Community Woodlands Award Winner – Vartry Reservoir Community Woodland, Roundwood & District Community council, Co. Wicklow
  • Community Woodlands Award Runner up – Tintern Forest, Co. Wexford



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