independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Already the cream of the crop

A COUPLE from Mitchelstown are among five dairy farms from County Cork to have been nominated for the 2013 National Dairy Council and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

A COUPLE from Mitchelstown are among five dairy farms from County Cork to have been nominated for the 2013 National Dairy Council and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

This competition, which sets out to identify and reward our top dairy farmers, has been described as the 'Sam Maguire of Farming'. In fact, the organisers explained that the nominated dairy farms can already be considered the cream of the crop, and among them are Richard and Nora Fitzgerald from Gortnahown in Mitchelstown.

The Fitzgeralds are represnting Dairygold Co-op at the awards.

Many of the co-ops who nominate dairy farmers for this competition do so on the basis of selecting their top farmers each year, from a supplier base of literally hundreds of farmers. Securing a nomination for this award is, in its own right, a recognition of top quality farming by the nominating co-op.

Indeed, all of the farmers nominated are role models in their own right and should be proud of this achievement.

Detailed technical forms related to each nominated farm are currently in the hands of the expert national judging panel – Professor Paddy Wall, associate professor of Public Health at UCD; Dr David Gleeson, Milk Quality Research, Teagasc; and Dr. Jack Kennedy, Dairy Editor, Irish Farmers Journal.

The judges are expected to select a short-list of finalists for a visit by the national judges during July. The judging panel will combine the technical data with the inspection of the farm in order to select the overall national winner.

The overall winning farmer will receive a prize of €5,000 and the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual trophy. It is also at the discretion of the judges each year to select whether category prizes will be awarded – for instance, in areas such as sustainability, animal welfare or care of the environment. It is expected that the overall results will be announced in October.

Along with the Fitzgeralds, the other four Cork dairy farmers nominated are:

Denis Collins, Letterlickey, Bantry (representing Drinagh Co-op)

Noel & Ann Jennings, Clancoole, Bandon (representing Bandon Co-op)

John J. McCarthy, Ballymacredmond, Butlerstown, Bandon (representing Barryroe Co-op)

Ronald Shorten, Woodfield, Clonakilty (representing Lisavaird Co-op)

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