Thirteen farming families, including two from Kerry, have reached the finals of the 2019 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. The awards, dubbed the “Oscars of the Dairy World”, is an annual national award programme which recognises the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming. This year, the awards have expanded to include criteria demonstrating sustainable dairy farming – with a particular focus on how Irish dairy farmers care for the environment and their animals.

This year’s finalists include two Kerry family farms:

The Stack Family Farm: Joe and TJ Stack are 10th generation farmers in Tralee. The farm, which uses new technologies to drive efficiencies, is home to 80 cows. Originally a beef and dairy farm, TJ and his father decided to switch to dairy exclusively.
The Hanrahan Family Farm: Liam Hanrahan was born into dairy farming at his family’s farm in Listowell. The farm, which has been in the family since the nineteenth century has been expanded several times throughout the years.

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the National Dairy Council said “The landscape that we’re living in is changing. 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. It is in all our interests to continue to nurture that approach and support new innovations in soil fertility, water quality and nutrient management”

Congratulating this year’s finalists, John Jordan, CEO Ornua, stated 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. It is fantastic to see and celebrate such high standards of practice and we look forward to awarding the overall winner in October.”
This year’s awards have introduced additional criteria to identify farmers operating a sustainable dairy operation with clear evidence of good technical practices in the areas beyond quality milk. Judges are specifically looking for farmers demonstrating care for their environment and their animals. “The standard this year was incredibly high and the shortlisted dairy farms were put through intensive scrutiny involving rigorous analysis of milk quality reports and technical data spanning a full 12-month period and included an inspection of their farms by the judges, which allowed us to get insights into the farm’s practices around areas such as environment, animal welfare and sustainability” said judge Dr David Gleeson.

Learn more about this year’s winners at #MadeForThis.