NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards to go ahead this year despite Covid-19

The National Dairy Council (NDC) and Ornua have announced that the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards will go ahead this year.

Following consultation with the judging panel, while the competition is set to go ahead, there will be strict safety guidelines in place due to Covid-19.

Plans for the 2020 awards

Dairy cooperatives throughout the country are invited to nominate their top suppliers for the awards each year.

This year, guidelines put in place to ensure safety, note that all co-ops, regardless of milk pool, can nominate one farm only. The closing date for nominations has been extended to Friday, August 21, 2020, and a strict farm visit protocol will be put in place for all visits on farms.

The farms nominated for the annual awards undergo a detailed assessment by an expert judging panel based on milk quality test results and technical reports spanning a full 12-month period, in order to select a short-list of finalists.

‘Resilience and hard work carried out by Ireland’s dairy farmers’

According to the organisers, the awards ceremony – which usually takes place in Dublin in October – will not go ahead as had been planned.

They added:

However, it is more important than ever to acknowledge the incredible resilience and hard work carried out by Ireland’s 18,000 dairy farmers who work hard to put quality products on our tables 365 days a year.

As such, a supporting PR and marketing campaign will take place to promote and celebrate this year’s finalists. Winners will be announced in November.

Last year’s winners

The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards is an annual national award programme. This year will be its 11th year running.

The winners of the 2019 awards were Kieran Hearne and his family.

From Rathgormack, Co. Waterford, Kieran Hearne was nominated for the accolade by Glanbia, going on to secure the top prize at the ceremony held in October of 2019. The Hearnes also took home the sustainability award on the day.

Last year, the awards were expanded to include criteria demonstrating sustainable dairy farming – with a particular focus on how Irish dairy farmers care for the environment and their animals.

CEO of the NDC Zoe Kavanagh commented, stating: “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 is extremely efficient and involves less intensive farming,” she added.