Our busy West Cork farming families picked up an impressive number of prizes at the recent milk quality awards, proving the dominance of this region in the overall sector
WEST Cork families swept the boards at the 2022 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.
While the overall prize went to Tuam farmers, the Connellys, runner-up spot went to Robert and Brian Shorten from Woodfield outside Clonakilty.
No strangers to awards, they are also finalists in the dairy category of the West Cork Farming Awards.
The Shortens also won the category award for Best in Class Facilities.
The Deasy family from Ahafore, Timoleague won the Sustainable Grassland Management award; the Hawkes family from Keel, Innishannon, took the Renewable Energy Innovation award, and the Collins family from Caheragh were honoured with the Farm Development award.
The winning families were announced at a special awards ceremony at Ballyvolane House in North Cork.
Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Charlie McConalogue said: ‘Greatness recognises greatness so it is a tremendous honour for all those farm families who have been nominated. The success achieved by winners and nominees comes from a lifetime of dedication to dairy farming excellence and constant improvement.’
Ornua chief executive John Jordan said all the finalists were role models for Irish farming families around the country.
‘2022 marks a significant milestone for Ornua as we head into the 60th anniversary of Kerrygold – a brand that is produced using the best quality milk in the world,’ he said. ‘The success of Kerrygold could not be achieved without the passion and commitment of farming families like the Connellys, who uphold the world class standards of sustainable dairy farming that Kerrygold and Irish dairy products as a whole are renowned for. I would like to thank all the finalists for the continued hard work and dedication they put into their farms every single day to create the quality milk that is revered around the world.’
Zoë Kavanagh, National Dairy Council chief executive, said there has never been a more important time to celebrate excellence in dairy farming and highlight the hard work and dedication of some of Ireland’s top dairy food producers.
‘Our climate and land produces dairy with one of the lowest carbon footprints internationally, primarily due to the unique Irish grass-fed, family-farmed system which is extremely efficient and involves less intensive farming. During challenging times people need to have trust in what they know, dairy is nutritious, accessible and affordable and is recognised as a vital part of people’s diet and general health across the life stages, indispensable to Ireland’s social and economic well-being.’
All 13 finalists underwent a robust and detailed independent assessment by an expert judging panel including Prof Pat Wall, professor of public health at UCD, and Dr David Gleeson research officer, livestock systems at Teagasc.
For the first time in 2022, specific category awards were presented to finalists, acknowledging excellence in milk quality, sustainable practices – including care for the environment and on-farm animal welfare, as well as technical knowledge and management of facilities.
The Shortens were nominated by Lisavaird Co-op; the Deasys by Barryroe Co-op; the Collins family by Drinagh Co-op and the Hawkes by Bandon Co-op.