Eight family farms take home Origin Green Producer Awards

Eight family farms took home awards at tonight’s Bord Bia Origin Green Sustainable Producer Awards.

Over 230 farmers and senior representatives from farming organisations and the agri-food industry gathered in Portlaoise for the celebratory event.

A total of 28 farms from across the country were selected as finalists for the Origin Green competition, from which eight producers were crowded winners of their particular category.

As part of its Quality Assurance Scheme, Bord Bia conduct audits and carbon assessments each year on almost 60,000 beef and dairy farms.

According to Bord Bia, tonight’s winning, and shortlisted entries, are among the top performing beef and dairy farms in the country particularly with regard to their carbon footprint, biodiversity and water management.

Opening the awards Bord Bia’s CEO, Aidan Cotter, said tonight we celebrate Irish farmers as champions of sustainable, quality assured and world class food production.

“Each of the 28 finalists is here on the strength, firstly, of the outstanding scores they achieved in their farm audits and, secondly, the truly impressive commitment they have shown to sustainability in their farming activities.

That sense of leadership is what will help us win in the marketplace, is what brings us here tonight and makes this an opportune time to celebrate what is best in Irish farming.

The overall winners from the beef category were:

Suckler-to-Beef Category

Alfie Kirwan’s suckler herd near Killimor, Co. Galway has one of the highest calving rates in the country and is now converting to organic production, encouraged by demand for this premium niche market.


Suckler-to-Weanling/Store Category

Neville Myles, from Ballyshannon in Co. Donegal, who runs a 70-cow suckler herd, was recognised for his quality breeding and grassland management that produces high-performing weanlings.


Weanling/Store-to-Beef Category

Tullamore-based, Kieran Dooley, along with his brother Brian and son Joe, specialise in the intensive finishing of well-bred continental young bulls and heifers, and have a keen focus on market demand.


Dairy Calf-to-Beef Category

Brothers Pat and Tom Redmond operate a significant calf-to-beef enterprise in Gorey, Co. Wexford.

Production is coordinated so as to finish 10 high-quality Angus-cross heifers per week, to supply beef to the family’s two hotels in Gorey.


Meanwhile, the overall winners in the dairy category were:

Small/Medium Herd Category

According to the judges John Joe and Theresa O’Sullivan’s dairy farm in Rosscarbery Co. Cork, supplying Lisavaird Co-op, is a hive of productivity.

They milk 70 cows on 45 hectares, with cows grazing over 300 days a year every year.

Biodiversity was noted to be a key feature on this excellent dairy farm with a habitat, some woodland, an ancient fort and an orchard where John Joe practices his hobby of beekeeping.


Liquid/Winter Milk Category

Dermot Sherry, Drumhillock, Co. Monaghan is using grass measurement and management to improve productivity on his farm.

Supplying LacPatrick Co-Op, cow numbers this year reached a peak of 118, up from 70 just a few years ago.


Carbon Footprint Reduction Category

Patrick Brennan, a farmer outside Ballingarry, Co. Tipperary, who milks over 170 cows and supplies Arrabawn Co-Op, has made small changes resulting in large efficiency gains.

Patrick’s attention to detail and tweaks to his system have resulted in a reduction of the carbon footprint of this farm.


Large Herd Category

The judges were particularly impressed by John Hannigan from Dromcollogher Co. Limerick who supplies Kerry Co-Op.

John has focussed on breeding to build a solid foundation for his farm of over 110 Friesian cows.