In the second instalment of our NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2022 series, in association with the National Dairy Council, Kerrygold and Ornua, we meet three farming families that have made it to the finals of these prestigious annual awards.

This time, we’re showcasing one farm in the south of the country, one in the west and one in the midlands-east.


Eoin Egan lives in Aulane, Abbeydourney, Co. Kerry, with his wife Siobhán, two small children, Ruairí and Síne, and his parents, Frank and Mary.

Eoin, Frank and Mary work in a three-way registered farm partnership, with the Egans farming the land since the early 1800s.

Together, they milk 107 cows and supply 659,288L to Kerry Agribusiness. The milk supplied has a total bacterial count (TBC) of 5,000, a somatic cell count (SCC) of 91, and comprises protein at 3.60% and butterfat at 4.11%.

Eoin has been farming with his parents for as far back as he can remember. He always showed a huge interest in the farm and spent as much time as he could learning the ropes from his father. 

Frank took over the farm full-time at the age of 19, and distinctly remembers taking the bus into school at the age of 14 and longing to join the farmers he passed by each morning.

Frank and Eoin have a keen interest in keeping on top of modern science and technologies and are always looking for ways to continually improve the processes they have in place on the farm.

“If you don’t drive on and move with the times you’ll be left in the past,” they agreed.


Father-and-daughter duo Tony and Jessie Hawkes farm together in Keel, Innishannon, Co. Cork. Also present on the farm is Tony’s wife, Ita, and other children, Lucy, Mary Anne and Connie.

Jessie will be the seventh generation to farm the land. She completed a pharmaceutical course at Cork Institute of Technology, despite realising halfway through that her heart really belonged at home on the farm.

She has since received her green cert and has completed a best milking practice course.

The pair milk 142 cows and supply 878,222L to Bandon Co-op. The milk has a TBC of 7,000, a SCC of 90, and comprises butterfat at 4.08% and protein at 3.49%.

The Hawkes team is keen to ensure that the farm is as sustainable as possible and prides itself on the farm’s landscape that features hedgerows, wildlife and a ringfort.

“Farmers are caretakers of the land, caretakers of the environment,” they said.


Another father-and-child duo, Michael and Gerard Heery, farm in Hammondstown, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath. Gerard is a fourth-generation farmer, with his father being a first-generation dairy farmer.

Also on the farm are Gerard’s wife, Geraldine, and his mother, Brigid. It’s a family operation, with Gerard’s brothers and nephew getting involved when required.

Michael has always been open minded to improvements and changes and was always willing to try new ideas.

The family milks 93 cows and supplies 575,185L to Glanbia Ireland. The milk has a TBC of 4,000, a SCC of 112, and comprises butterfat at 4.55% and protein at 3.71%.

The whole family are real lovers of the outdoors and are heavily involved in the local community. Michael founded the local athletics club, with numerous well-known Irish sports people having been past members.

Geraldine, an avid cyclist, previously represented Ireland in France and has completed the Tour de France Femmes.

The Heery farm

The family’s ethos of working hard at everything you do in life is truly evident.

“You won’t make anything if you don’t work hard,” they said.

Tune into Agriland throughout the week as we bring you more family farms who have been chosen as finalists for the NDC Kerrygold Milk Quality Awards 2022.

And for more information on the awards, click here.