Loughgall farmer and businessman Thomas Gilpin has been congratulated on winning the Lifetime Achievement Award at a top farming competition.
Mr Gilpin grew up on a farm in Portadown and started his career in 1965 with a 4.5 acre field, growing vegetables for supply to small shops.
His company, Gilfresh, now has a turnover of £18 million and manages the growing of over 2,500 acres of root vegetables, salad crops and brassica vegetables.
It has a team of 130 people and 40 Gilfresh growers.
At the Farming Life Danske Bank Awards, held last night (Thursday) at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Belfast, Mr Gilpin took the top accolade for his commitment to the arable industry.
The company also took the Agri-Food Business of the Year prize.
MLA William Irwin, a Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)committee member, said Mr Gilpin was a “very deserving recipient of the award”.
He said, “I have known Thomas for many years and he is a very hard working and dedicated individual who has devoted a lot of time and effort to his business and built it into a very successful enterprise.
“In my own constituency his company Gilfresh Produce is a very valued local employer and his entrepreneurial skills have contributed to economic stability in the area. It is also another great achievement that the company was awarded Agri-food Business of the Year at the ceremony. This of course is testimony to the effort put in by Thomas and all his hard working team at Gilfresh Produce.”
Mr Irwin added, “I wish Thomas and his family well as they continue with their business enterprise and again congratulate them on these wonderful achievements.”
The Unsung Hero Award went to Thelma Gorman, Armagh.