A KILBRITTAIN farmer is the overall winner of the 16th Carbery Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards, which celebrate the best of dairy farming in West Cork.
Tadhg Hurley farms on land that his grandfather, Daniel, bought in 1936 in Barleyfield and his father, Finbarr, still milks with him.
On 90 acres, he has a herd of 74 cows, producing an average of 460kg milk solids per cow. Married to Helena, they are parents of TJ (4) and Charlie (1) and Tadhg is a member of Barryroe Co-op.
With this year’s awards taking place virtually, the 16 nominated farmers from Barryroe, Lisavaird, Drinagh and Barryroe co-ops, and their families, tuned in for the online event, broadcast from Virtual Event Studios in Cork.
Jason Hawkins, Carbery CEO, said: ‘Every year I am impressed by the standard of the finalists in the Milk Quality Awards, and this year is no exception. I think we have to acknowledge that this has been a particularly challenging year for everyone, including famers. For our nominees to have achieved excellence in these circumstances is something to be very proud of.
‘Carbery are leaders in quality and sustainability and it is critical that we selfishly protect this reputation. Our farmers, and the standard of milk they produce, are central to that success, and celebrating the farmers who achieve these standards are what the awards are all about.’
Carbery Group chairman TJ Sullivan added: ‘As a farmer myself, I know first-hand the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from farming, but also the challenges that it can bring. A farmer’s life can be a lonely one, and for all the effort put into farming, often no one else sees the hard work and the long hours. This is why, for me, the Milk Quality and Sustainability Awards are one of the most important things that Carbery does.’
He continued: ‘These awards and nominees are about celebrating the best of farming, and of what dairy farming can be. The awards highlight that farmers are progressive and adaptable, that they prioritise quality and food safety, that they think about the future and their impact on it. They also highlight that Irish farms are family farms, a team effort, supported by and supporting their local communities. Family farms keep the lights on, and especially this year, in our rural schools, villages and businesses.’
The judges for this year’s competition commended every entrant for their commitment to quality, hygiene and good practices, noting the particularly high standard this year. Milk quality, sustainability, healthy cows, hygienic facilities and excellent farming practices are essential to Carbery’s quality of raw material supply which leads to a superior end product.
THERE were three finalists from each West Cork co-op (Bandon, Barryroe, Lisavaird and Drinagh) for the Quality Award, as well as a Sustainability winner from each co-op:
Kieran Cotter, Ardcloyne, Kinsale - winner
Scott Kingston, Laragh, Bandon
Evan Shorten, Bengour East, NewcestownW
John O’Donoghue, Peafield, Ballinadee – Sustainability winner
Tadgh Hurley, Barleyfield, Kilbrittain – winner
Jeremiah and Gerard Moloney, Clonbouig, Kilbrittain
James Sexton, Carrahevern, Lislevane
Eoin Hayes, Lispatrick, Old Head – Sustainability winner
William Kingston, Tooreen, Skibbereen
John O’Regan, Kilbronogue, Schull - winner
Anthony O’Shea, Gouree Beg, Bantry
Tim O’Mahony, Cooladreen, Leap - Sustainability winner
Gerard Collins, Castleventry, Clonakilty
James McCarthy, Carrigfada, Rosscarbery - winner
Tim O’Leary, Lisselane, Clonakilty
Caroline Walsh, Crohane, Ballinascarthy - Sustainability winner