This year saw the number of applications rise by 30% for the Innovation Awards in association with Enterprise Ireland the Farmers Journal and the National Ploughing Association. The event at this year’s ploughing championship will have to double in size to give the shortlisted applicants the opportunity to display their inventions and concepts to the agricultural industry and visitors this year.
Aside from having more applicants this year, the type of products applications is also much wider from information technology, safety on farms and some larger scale manufacturing projects. NPA PR Officer Anna Marie McHugh commented having seen the applications for this year “There is no doubt that the creative and entrepreneurial spark in Ireland is alive and well. The National Ploughing Association is delighted to deliver this opportunity to help innovation develop in Ireland, in association with our partners in Enterprise Ireland and the Farmers Journal.”
There will be also two categories added this year with a junior award for under 18’s and a student award. The sting in the tail for the winners in each category is the ‘Innovation Den’. This year to be given the overall innovation title, each finalist must pitch there concept to the ‘Innovation Panel’ who will submit their results to the overall judges. The Innovation panel will be made up of some of the top business men and women from Ireland. Their identity will not be revealed until they take their seat in the ‘Innovation Den’.
Commenting on this development in the competition Denis Duggan from Enterprise Ireland said “It will give the finalists a chance to get feedback from leading industry experts on their innovation and develop their ideas more”
A full list of the shortlisted applicants will shortly be published in the Farmers Journal.
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. Marcia said the support and advice given by Enterprise Ireland, has helped to promote the brand across Europe. In particular enquiries from the Nordic countries arrive on a weekly basis. The Falcon Forwarder seen at last year’s innovation stand at the Ploughing championship is sold and working locally. The Farmers journal machinery team will review the machine in the next month.
The innovation awards at the Ploughing Championship last year provided the launching pad for many ideas and products, in the established and in the start-up category awards. Last year’s category award winners are listed below;
· Slurrysafe – Safety Award Winner;
· Dairymaster – Animal Health Award winner in Established company category;
· BovAlert (DIT Hothouse) – Animal Health Award winner in Startup company category;
· Falcon Forwarder – Agri-Engineering Award winner in Startup company category;
· Denis Doyle Engineering – Agri-Engineering Award winner in Establishing company category;
· Herdwatch – Software Award winner in Established Company Category;
· Farmflo – Software Award winner in Startup category;
· Emarts Daily – promoted by Marie Costello was named Young Innovator;
This year the prize fund has been increased by €15,000 to €65,000 giving a clear commitment from Enterprise Ireland, The Farmers Journal and the NPA to innovation in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland has also secured further funding and support to some of the category winners, with a good business plan and a willingness to succeed.
Justin McCarthy, Editor& Chief Executive of the Irish Farmers Journal added that he and his team at the Farmers Journal are delighted to support home grown talent in Ireland “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.”