The Northern Ireland agriculture industry was in the spotlight last night as the annual Farming Life and Danske Bank Awards took place at Belfast’s Ramada Hotel.
The black tie gala awards, now in their third year, have become a fixture in the agri-calendar and more than 270 people, including special guests Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill and Finance Minister Simon Hamilton, attended the event.
The big award-winner on the night was James Derek Shaw, from Gilford. He collected the Liftetime Achievement award sponsored by Danske Bank.
Other major award-winners on the night were Farming Life columnist Richard Wright, who won the Farming Champion award sponsored by the Ulster Farmers’ Union, and John Gordon MBE, winner of the Unsung Hero award, sponsored by Simple Power.
Speaking after the awards, Farming Life editor Ruth Rodgers paid tribute to all the award-winners.
“This has been the best Farming Life and Danske Bank awards that we have had to date,” she said.
“Northern Ireland’s agriculture industry is something special and tonight has been a celebration and recognition of the people who play a major part in the success of the industry.
“We have had a wonderful evening and I would like to congratulate all the award- winners on their success.
“I would also like to thank all those farmers and businesses who entered the various categories – they are of the highest standard and made the job of our judging panels a difficult one – and also to our valued sponsors who have given their support to the awards once again.”