13 farming families representing 11 co-ops have reached the finals of the 2019 National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

This year, the awards have included criteria demonstrating sustainable dairy farming – with a particular focus on how Irish dairy farmers care for the environment and their animals.

Commenting on the awards, Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the NDC, said: “Now more than ever consumers are demanding natural sustainably produced food – transparency, authenticity, taking responsibility for your health and keeping it real are now more important than ever.

Irish dairy has one of the lowest carbon footprints internationally, primarily due to the unique grass-fed, family-based Irish farming system which involves less intensive farming.

“It is in all our interests to continue to nurture that approach and support new innovations in soil fertility, water quality and nutrient management.”

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday, October 2.

Chef and food writer Clodagh McKenna is the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Award brand ambassador. McKenna is a passionate advocate of Irish dairy produce both at home and abroad.

Congratulating this year’s finalists, John Jordan, CEO of Ornua, said: “Irish farmers should be very proud of their commitment to producing the best quality milk in the world, enhancing Ireland’s reputation as a natural food producer globally.

“Our grass-based family farming system is a vital ingredient to the phenomenal success of the Kerrygold brand worldwide.”

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; these include business innovation, data management, development and best protein production.

The 13 finalists are as follows:
  • Adam and Valerie Shorten, Eniskeane, Co. Cork – nominated by Bandon Co-op;
  • Dermot Walsh and Family, Bandon, Co. Cork – nominated by Barryroe Co-op;
  • Michael and Thomas Nyhan, Ballineen, Co. Cork – nominated by Lisavaird Co-op;
  • Joe and T.J Stack, Tralee, Co. Kerry – nominated by Kerry Agribusiness;
  • Brendan O’ Driscoll, Leap, Co. Cork – nominated by Drinagh;
  • Kieran and Ann Hearne, Rathgormack, Co. Waterford – nominated by Glanbia Ireland;
  • Pat and Miriam Kiely and Ciaran Hanrahan (PMC Dairy Farm) – nominated by Glanbia;
  • Edward Donovan, Ballybranagh, Cloyne Co. Cork – nominated by Dairygold;
  • Michael Gunn and family, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon – nominated by Aurivo;
  • David McCoy, Smithboro, Co. Monaghan – nominated by Lakeland Dairies;
  • Charles McCandless, Culdaff, Co. Donegal – nominated by Aurivo Co-op;
  • Albie and Denise Ryan, Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary – nominated by Arrabawn Co-op;
  • Liam Hanrahan, Listowel, Co. Kerry – nominated by North Cork Creameries.

More information on this year’s finalists is available here: www.qualitymilkawards.ie.