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NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Award winners announced

The McCarthy family from Limerick crowned winner of the 2021 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

Olympic Gold Medallist Kellie Harrington lifts the perpetual NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards trophy with 2021 champions the McCarthy family from Limerick.

Ornua and the National Dairy Council (NDC) have announced that the McCarthy family, from Limerick and supplying Kerry Agribusiness, as the winner of the 2021 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. The awards, dubbed the Oscars of the Dairy World, recognise, and celebrate the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming.

The winner was announced at a special awards ceremony at Moorepark Dairy Open Day following presentations to 12 farming families, representing the best of Irish dairy, by Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington. Winners Michael, Mary Ita & Alex McCarthy, supplying Kerry Agribusiness, received prize money and take home the coveted NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup. Michael, Mary Ita, and Alex farm together in Feenagh, Co. Limerick and live on the farm with Alex’s wife Siobhan and daughter Chloe.

Speaking on the awards, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said: “The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards are a unique way of celebrating what is truly special about Ireland. The passion and dedication of Irish family farms, together with our unique farming system, has helped build a strong reputation for Ireland as a high-quality, sustainable food producer. While we face significant challenges as an industry, it is important to celebrate our dairy farmers who are ambassadors for the industry, committed to maintaining exceptional standards in milk quality and sustainable farming.”

John Jordan, CEO Ornua, congratulated the McCarthy family on their win, commenting; “Each year, the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards celebrate the hard work and passion of Irish farming families. Their dedication to their craft results in the best quality milk in the world, off a grass-based system, and is the key ingredient to Kerrygold’s global success. The McCarthy family are incredible role models for sustainable, high-quality milk production, and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate with them here today.”

All farming finalists underwent a detailed assessment by an expert judging panel including Professor Pat Wall from UCD, Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc and Dr Jack Kennedy, Deputy Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. All finalists were judged on sustainable farming practices, milk quality, technical knowledge, and animal welfare on-farm practices. The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards judges praised the impressive team effort from the family and the top-class results produced by the farm.

Commenting on the winning family, judge Dr David Gleeson, said: “Every year, we are incredibly impressed by the dedication and performance of the entrants to the awards. In 2021, the commitment of family farms across Ireland to producing the best

quality milk in the world is still clear. This year, we are delighted to announce the McCarthy family, supplying Kerry Agribusiness, as the overall winner of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. The McCarthy family are innovating in all the right places, making data-driven decisions, and have succeeded in establishing sustainable systems in the environmental, welfare and technical activities of their farm. They are excellent ambassadors for the Irish dairy industry and are well-deserved winners of this year’s award.”

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO National Dairy Council, commented: “I am delighted to congratulate this year’s worthy winners who once again have demonstrated the excellence of Irish dairy farming. Dairy farming has been going on in Ireland for over 4,000 years, it’s a part of our national identity. Our grass-fed family farming system is ideally suited to the Irish climate and delivers world-class produce. The farmers who have been awarded this year represent the highest standards as food producers delivering an exceptional product that is enjoyed at home and revered by consumers all over the world.”

12 farming families, from eight counties, representing 12 dairy co-ops nationwide reached the finals of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards, with additional category awards presented on the day:

Overall winner & category award winner for Environmental Infrastructure
McCarthy Family Farm, Limerick – Nominated by Kerry Agribusiness

Overall Runner up & category award winner for Best Milk Quality
Banville Family Farm, Wexford – Nominated by Glanbia Ireland

Overall Runner up & category award winner for Business Innovation
O’Sullivan Family Farm, Cork – Nominated by Dairygold Co-op

Category award winner for Farm Development
Fitzpatrick Family Farm, Longford – Nominated by Lakeland Dairies

Category award winner for Farm Development
Hamm Family Farm, Westmeath – Nominated by Aurivo Co-op

Category award winner for Farm Sustainability
Ormond Family Farm, Tipperary - Nominated by Centenary Thurles

National Finalist - Barry Family Farm, Cork
Nominated by North Cork Creameries

National Finalist - Hurley Family Farm, Cork
Nominated by Barryroe Co-op

National Finalist - Keane Family Farm, Kerry
Nominated by Lee Strand Co-op

National Finalist - Kingston Family Farm, Cork
Nominated by Drinagh Co-op

National Finalist - McCarthy Family Farm, Cork
Nominated by Lisavaird Co-op

National Finalist - O’Brien Family Farm, Galway
Nominated by Arrabawn Co-op