Judging Panel

The below list of judges below includes individuals from the environmental, agricultural and community sector, reflecting the importance of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of farming sustainably.


Adam Woods

Adam Woods is the Beef Editor for the Irish Farmers Journal.
(On panel 2018-present).


Andy Bleasdale

Andy works in the Scientific Unit of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and has a particular interest in the potential of farming to enhance biodiversity in an Irish setting.  He has had an active involvement in the commonage framework planning process, the NPWS farm plan scheme, BurrenLIFE and successor programmes, AranLIFE, RBAPS and INTERREG VA and he is an advocate of approaches to incentivise farmers to improve the status of habitats and species. (On panel 2018-present).

Anne Kinsella

Anne, an economist, works in the Rural Economy and Development Programme (REDP), Teagasc and specialises in the area of production economics and farm level analysis. Her research interests include land-use economics, with a particular interest on the impact of policy and taxation on decisions in relation to succession, inheritance and land mobility. Anne compliments her economics research with her qualification as a chartered certified accountant and also holds a masters of science from UCD. Having completed her postgraduate dissertation on area specific environmental policy, she retains a keen research interest in environmental/multidisciplinary projects, to include the most successful BurrenLIFE project (led by Brendan Dunford) on which she was member of steering committee. Anne is the Irish representative on the OECD International network for farm level analysis and the international Agri Benchmark Beef and Sheep Network. She is a member of numerous national advisory groups and steering committees to include National Rural Network Sub-Advisory Committee on Farm Viability and Competitiveness.  (Joined panel 2019)


Barry O’Donoghue

Barry is Head of Agri-Ecology with the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS). Barry hails from the Kingdom of Kerry where he grew up in the Stack’s Mountains with a combination of farming and nature interests. Barry did his undergrad at UCD on Agriculture and Environment, followed by a Research Master’s on the Hen Harrier and a subsequent PhD on the ecology and conservation of Hen Harriers, while also working as a Ranger with NPWS. Barry has a keen interest in sports, our coast and seas, farming, communities and nature. At present, the next CAP Strategic Plan, Curlew, Corncrake, raptor poisoning and persecution and the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme are just some of the various topics that the Agri-Ecology Unit of NPWS are working on.  (Joined panel 2019)

Brendan Dunford

From a farming background in Co. Waterford, Brendan has spent the past 20 years living and working in the Burren region. He led the award-winning BurrenLIFE Project (2005-2010), its successor, the pioneering ‘Burren Farming for Conservation Programme’ (2010-2015) and currently manages the new ‘Burren Programme’. Along with his late wife Ann O’Connor, Brendan co-founded Burrenbeo Teo and is secretary of its successor, the Burrenbeo Trust, Ireland’s only landscape-based charity which delivers an extensive annual programme of place-based learning initiatives. Brendan is a former board member of the Heritage Council, a former member of the EPA Advisory Committee and a former Director of the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism. He is an Ashoka Fellow for Ireland.  (On panel 2018-present)

James Moran 

James is a lecturer in Biology and Ecology at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. His research and outreach work concentrates on sustainable agricultural systems specialising in High Nature Value farming. He leads a number of projects in this area at GMIT and IT Sligo. He is particularly interested in the potential of a HNV farmland network where innovative local communities can work in partnership to realise a sustainable future for their area. He is a member of the National Biodiversity Forum and the National Rural Network sub-committee on Biodiversity, Environmental Challenges and LIFE Programmes. (On panel 2018-present)

John Finn

John is a Research Officer in farmland ecology and biodiversity with Teagasc.  His research interests include farmland ecology, sustainable agriculture, multispecies mixtures, and High Nature Value farming systems.   His current projects are: Identifying the Distribution and Extent of Agricultural Land of High Nature Value; Development and application of a farm-scale indicator for farmland biodiversity; Spatial distribution of rare Irish flora; Can multi-species agronomic grassland mixtures mitigate the effects of extreme climate events?; Agri-Food Graduate Development Programme; and the Biodiversity Working Group.  (On panel 2018-present)

Liam Lysaght

Liam has been the Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre since 2006.  The Data Centre manages data and information on Ireland’s biological diversity and tracks how biodiversity is changing.  Liam was previously employed as Wildlife Officer with the Heritage Council, during which time he worked on providing advice on agriculture, forestry and landuse policy and its impacts on the natural heritage.   Prior to that he served as Park Ranger for the Burren and Connemara National Parks.  He is a Trustee of The Vincent Wildlife Trust and Head of Delegation for Ireland to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.  (On panel 2018-present)


Martina Calvey

Martina is from an award-winning farm in Achill, Co.Mayo  and part of the family that won the Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards in 2018.   She is the manager of their family-run business, Achill Mountain Lamb.  This butchers are dedicated to working with local farmers and sourcing naturally-reared lamb off the Achill commonage and getting it into some of the top restaurants and markets in the country.  With more than thirty years experience in education, teaching environmental sciences & promoting conservation, preservation and management, Martina’s experience is interdisciplinary, and its foci have broadened over time as she gained valuable personal insights into how rural areas can become successfully sustainable & viable in environmental, social and economic terms. In recent times, her interest is in exploring the impacts of socio-cultural aspects of food & farming on rural issues & sustainability processes, policy and practice. Her continued research will focus on future sustainability agenda for rural areas, the ability of rural areas to realise reinforce and rejuvenate while responding to global change. Her holistic experience resonates well with themes of global and local sustainability social economic and environmental.  (Joined panel in 2019)


Michael Maloney

Michael Maloney is the former Director of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme.  (On panel 2018-present)


Shane Conway

Shane is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Discipline of Geography’s Rural Studies Research Cluster at NUI Galway. Shane’s research interests are in Rural and Agricultural Geography, with a particular focus on generational renewal in agriculture, the human side of farming and rural sustainability. He has published widely in academic journals and is currently leading Ireland’s participation in the International FARMTRANSFERS Project. Dr. Conway is also a member of the National Rural Network (NRN) research team at NUI Galway, where he is working on the LEADER, EIP-AGRI and Farm Viability components of Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. He is also a member of the European Network for Rural Development’s Thematic Group on ‘Smart Villages’.  (Joined panel 2019)

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