WEST Cork is well represented in the final of this year’s NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.
Among those hoping for honours are Liam and Dolores O’Donovan from Skibbereen who have been nominated by Drinagh Co-Op; Else Furney, Ballinagaragh, Kilbrittain, nominated by Barryroe Co-Op and Tim and Dan Crowley, Carey’s Cross, Clancoolbeg, Bandon, nominated by Bandon Co-Op.
The awards recognise standards of excellence in dairy farming, with dairy co-operatives throughout the country invited to nominate their top suppliers. Nine finalists were each visited by judges over the last three months and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in Dublin on October 3rd.
The judges for this year’s awards are Dr Jack Kennedy, Dairy Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal; Professor Pat Wall from UCD and Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc. Chef and food writer Clodagh McKenna is once again Food Ambassador for the 2018 awards.
As part of the judging process, judges carried out detailed assessments based on submitted nomination forms and technical reports which spanned a full 12-month period. From this process, a short-list of finalists was compiled. The judges then arranged to visit each of the nine finalist farms for an inspection over the summer months.
Ciara O’Callaghan, Brand Director at Ornua, said: ‘The Kerrygold brand is much-loved around the world, a success which is made possible by Irish dairy farmers. We are heartened again this year to see such high standards of practice in place and are proud to celebrate the work of these Irish farming families through Kerrygold, leveraging the unique advantage Irish dairy holds across markets globally.’
Professor Wall added: ‘The nine shortlisted dairy farms were put through intensive scrutiny involving rigorous analysis of milk quality reports and technical data spanning a full 12-month period and included an inspection of their farms by the judges, which allowed us to get insights into the farm’s practices around areas such as milking routine, animal welfare and sustainability.
‘All of the finalists clearly demonstrated excellent standards in food production. They are leaders in their industry and showcase the utmost standards in sustainability, hygiene, animal welfare and quality.’
In addition to identifying the top dairy farm, the national judges reserve the option to award specific category awards in sectors which stand out from year to year, such as care for the environment or animal care and welfare.