The Macnamaras were announced as winners of the prestigious awards at a special ceremony held in Ballymaloe House in Co. Cork (today) where a total of 14 farming families from seven counties, representing 14 dairy co-operatives, were acknowledged for excellence in dairy farming and milk production.
Following nomination from their respective co-operative, each finalist participated in an intensive judging process examining a broad range of criteria including environmental management, animal health and welfare, farm infrastructure and hygiene, soil and grassland management and technical performance, among other core indicators.
This year’s judging panel included Karina Pierce, professor of dairy production in University College Dublin School of Agriculture and Food Science; Dr Patrick Wall, professor of public health at University College Dublin; and Dr David Gleeson of Teagasc.
Winning family team
Husband-and-wife team, John and Olivia Macnamara, farm in Gormanstown, Hospital, Co. Limerick, where their children, Caoimhe, Conor, Ailbhe and Padraic, all contribute to the running of the farm. John believes that working together fosters a strong family connection and ensures the Macnamara family values are ingrained in their family farm. The farm’s legacy traces back to John’s father Pat, who entrusted John with its care after he completed the Green Cert at Teagasc, Kilmallock. John’s passion for farming was instilled from an early age. As the eldest of six children, he developed a robust work ethic and love for the land. With an understanding that the milk leaving his yard will shortly be on the consumers’ table, John takes immense pride in producing a product that is of the highest quality.
Commenting on the awards, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said: “The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards recognise the exceptionally high standards in dairy farming practice that Irish farming families exhibit every day across the country. My sincere congratulations go to the 2023 overall winner, the Macnamara family, on their success in reaching the pinnacle of this year’s programme. To be recognised by your own co-operative as a nominee is in itself a fantastic achievement, so all of the 14 finalists can be immensely proud of this recognition, and I wish them all continued success.”
Ornua Co-operative chair, Aidan O’Driscoll, said: “On behalf of Ornua, I would like to congratulate John, Olivia and the Macnamara family on being recognised as the overall winner of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards for 2023. The dedication that the Macnamaras hold in maintaining world-class standards of dairy farming and milk production is what makes Irish dairy products so revered globally. This dedication is clearly shared by all 14 finalists, who represent the qualities of our unique grass-based family farming system and are role models for our industry and their respective communities. I would like to thank each of the families for their continued commitment to strengthening the high standards of dairy excellence that these awards proudly celebrate.”
CEO National Dairy Council, Zoë Kavanagh, said: “I am delighted to congratulate the Macnamara family from Co Limerick. Their four children, Caoimhe, Conor, Ailbhe and Padraic, all contribute to the running of the farm. This is exactly why Irish dairy is so unique and special, the family farming model that has been practised in Ireland for over 6,000 years and continues to ensure that the Irish dairy is renowned and revered for its high quality at home and abroad. We need to continue to celebrate the sustainability of Ireland’s grass-based production system which sets us apart and creates a highly nutritious and affordable product, which will continue to nourish generations to come!” A total of seven category awards were also presented to families.
2023 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards – categories and winners
Overall Winner & Farm Infrastructure Award
Macnamara Farm, Co. Limerick - Kerry Agri-Business
Overall Runner-up & Environment Award
Bergin Farm, Co. Tipperary - Centenary Thurles
Grassland Management Award
Brennan Farm, Co. Cavan - Lakeland Dairies
Adoption of Technologies Award
Coleman Farm, Co. Cork - Barryroe
Best Protein & Butterfat Percentage Award
Gordon Farm, Co. Mayo - Aurivo Co-op
Lowest Carbon Footprint Award
Lonergan Farm, Co. Tipperary - Tipperary Co-op
Highest EBI Award
O’Leary Farm, Co. Cork – Dairygold