BY JOHN SEXTON
A FAMILY partnership from Clohane, Bandon, has won the overall prize at the 2018 Carbery Quality Milk Awards held last week at Fernhill House Hotel in Clonakilty. Winner James O’Neill is farming in partnership with his parents Theresa and Pat.
The O’Neills are milking 210 cows with a 20-unit milking parlour. They were also selected as the regional winners for Bandon Co-Op, where they supply their milk for processing in Carbery’s Ballineen facility.
Carbery also congratulated the regional winners from the other three shareholder co-ops. They are Conor and Kevin Moloney, Boxtown, Kilbrittain, from Barryroe Co-Op; Brendan and Pauline O’Driscoll, Shreelane, Leap, from Drinagh Co-Op, and Colm and Ber O’Sullivan, Kilbree, Clonakilty, from Lisavaird Co-Op.
Each finalist was commended for their outstanding attention to detail, with an emphasis on milk quality, sustainability, healthy cows, hygienic facilities and excellent farming practices, all of which are essential to Carbery’s quality of raw material supply which leads to a superior end product. Owned by farming families, Carbery Group processes close to 500 million litres of milk per annum to produce award-winning cheeses and food ingredients in Ballineen.
Speaking at the awards Peter Fleming, chairman of Carbery Group, said: ‘Each year the quality of entries for the Carbery Quality Milk Awards continues to impress. The high standard of products produced by Carbery is thanks to farmers like the O’Neill Family, who put a huge amount of work into their farm, and the quality of milk they are producing is testament to that.
‘The O’Neill’s have reached an excellent standard, as have the rest of our finalists, and are a credit to dairy farming in West Cork. Carbery’s success has been built thanks to the quality of milk produced by suppliers like Pat, James and Theresa, and we congratulate them on winning this award.’
Addressing the gathering, the new Carbery chief executive, Jason Hawkins, paid a glowing tribute to the high standard attained by so many within the group, which has given them a niche position in the world stage. By including a sustainability award this year, they are pushing out the boat a bit further as the winners of this award have been previous winners, and some overall winners, which goes to show that the standards are being kept up all the time.
On Carbery’s latest expansion of its flavours and taste business, he said that the geographical positioning of the business provided an excellent opportunity for Synergy to further its position in the European market as the compatibility of both businesses is an excellent foundation for future growth. At present, Carbery operates from several locations worldwide, including Ireland, the UK, the USA, Brazil and Thailand, with Italy now added to the growing list.
Another speaker at the awards was John McNamara of Teagasc, on behalf of Paddy Barrett (Carbery) and himself, who judged the competition. Present also were the CEOs of the four West Cork Co-Ops and members of their management teams, and executives of Carbery.
Runners-up in the regional co-ops were: Bandon Co-Op – Gavin Forde, Lochinver, Ballinadee, Bandon, and John Sexton, Shinagh Estates-Gurteen Dairy Farm, Shinagh, Bandon; Barryroe Co-Op – Declan & Karen Nyhan, Maryboro, Timoleague, and Eoin Hayes, Lispatrick, Old Head, Kinsale; Drinagh Co-Op – Charles J & Martina McCarthy, Gortycrossig, Toehead, Castletownshend, Skibbereen, and Noel & Anne O’Shea, Ballyalla, Skibbereen; Lisavaird Co-Op – Stephen & Jane Collins, Cloncorban Farm, Rossmore, Clonakilty, and Tom & Michael Nyhan, Hollyhill, Ballineen.
Sustainability awards were won by David & Vanessa O’Connor, Bandon Co-Op; Noel O’Donovan, Barryroe Co-Op; Timothy & Shane McCarthy, Drinagh Co-Op, and Michael, Rose & Paul Dullea, Lisavaird Co-Op.