BY JOHN SEXTON
‘IN welcoming you all here tonight to this auspicious ceremony, I would like to state that standards are rising by the year and that provides us with opportunities to expand and develop our sales throughout the world,’ declared Dan MacSweeney, CEO of the Carbery Group, when he gave the keynote address at their annual Quality Milk Awards at Fernhill House Hotel, won by John Joe and Theresa O’Sullivan, from Gurranes, Rosscarbery.
He went on to state that the Carbery factory in Ballineen was set up 50 years ago for the manufacture of cheese, which still comprises a major share of their business. However, it was their decision to go into the food ingredients and nutrition market with Synergy that has enabled them to be price-leaders as milk processors.
Achieving this has been greatly due to the efforts of the milk suppliers and the factory staff working in unison, so that Carbery has earned such a high standard for the quality of its products in markets all over the world.
In congratulating the prizewinners for setting such a high standard, he also paid tribute to the judging panel of Paddy Barrett (Carbery), the dairy managers of the co-ops and John McNamara of Teagasc. Adressing the gathering, John Mc Namara outlined the various headings by which they assessed the merits of each of the participants, including the milking parlour, the washing facilities, the cooling system and water supply, management of slurry and fertiliser plans, the overall appearance of the farmyard and the general lay-out of the grassland (something very close to John’s heart).
The following are the award winners:
Bandon Co-Op winners: John & Veronica Cullinane, Shanaway, Ballineen; runners-up, John Joe, Gary & Denis Kelleher, Ballymurphy, Upton; Owen & Rosaleen O’Brien, Cashelbeg, Enniskeane.
Drinagh Co-Op winners: Liam & Dolores O’Donovan, Clohane, Skibbereen; Noel & Derek Jagoe, Toughmacdermody, Drinagh; Robert & Mary Deane & Family, Derrygareen, Skibbereen.
Barryroe Co-Op winners: Dermot & Linda Walsh, Currihy, Lislevane; runners-up, Noel O’Donovan, Ballymacwilliam, Clonakilty; Flynn Partnership, c/o John Flynn & John D Flynn, Garrendruig, Timoleague.
Lisavaird Co-Op (and overall) winners: John Joe & Theresa O’Sullivan, Gurranes, Rosscarbery; James M Kingston, Maulnageragh, Clonakilty; Harry Bennett, Gavin Ridgeway, & James Healy, Ballyduvane,Clonakilty.
The O’Sullivan family runs a 44 ha (102 acre) dairy farm, milking 70 cows with a 10-unit milking parlour. The Carbery-Teagasc farm walk will take place on the O’Sullivan farm at Gurranes towards the end of July.
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.
The function was attended by the chairmen and management teams of the four West Cork co-ops; Billy Kelleher Cork West regional manager of Teagasc and advisers, and many of the Carbery management group, including Colm Leen, JJ Walsh, Noel Corcoran, John Holland, Liz Barry.
Speaking at the awards Dermot O’Leary, chairman of Carbery Group, said: ‘The Carbery Sustainable Quality Milk Awards are a great way to recognise the hard work our suppliers put in to produce the best quality milk possible. The O’Sullivans have reached a very high standard, as have the rest of our finalists. Carbery’s success has been built thanks to the quality of milk produced by suppliers like John Joe and his family.’
In conclusion, Mr O’Leary of Bandon Co-Op, having thanked everyone and complimented the prizeweinners, paid a glowing tribute to Dan MacSweeney and his staff for elevating Carbery to such a high profile on the world agri business stage.