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Independent.ie

Friday 20 April 2018

'Winning this top dairy award is as good as lifting the Sam Maguire'

Claire and Helena and Brendan Walsh with their parents Maria and John and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed collecting their award. Picture:Clare Keogh
Claire and Helena and Brendan Walsh with their parents Maria and John and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed collecting their award. Picture:Clare Keogh

Claire Fox

The winner of a top Irish dairy award said the win is like his “All-Ireland”.

John Walsh (52) from Ballylooby, Co Tipperary took home the overall prize at the 2017 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk awards yesterday.

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Royal Hospital Kilmainham, John said winning this award was as good as lifting the Liam McCarthy or Sam Maguire for him.

“I’m still overwhelmed. When I was a young person I was never any good at football or hurling but standing here in front of you all today. I have one thing to say: Ta athas orm an corn seo a ghlacadh. This is my All Ireland.

"I wasn’t expecting it. You work hard all your life at dairying, you get enjoyment out of what you do but you don’t get any reward. This is my All-Ireland. I’m over the moon.”

Mr Walsh thanked his wife, Maria, three children Brendan, Helena and Claire and his farm worker Andrew Myles, without whom he said he “would be lost”.

Mr Walsh, who milks 104 cows on 92 hectares of land told FarmIreland that he has been farming since the age of 10 and is the sixth generation of farmers in his family. He said he was keen to pass on the tradition to his three children.

“I introduced farming to my children. I always used to give them small chores and the way I looked at it - when they came to 14 or 15 if they didn’t like it at least they'd tried. I’m very lucky they all love it,” he said.

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He believes that awards such as these give the Irish dairy sector a boost both at home and abroad and while the dairy sector is in good shape at the moment he thinks we should be mindful of market fluctuations.

“A photograph of cows and a farmer in a green field helps sell our product all over the world

“A photograph of cows and a farmer in a green field helps sell our product all over the world. We do have to be more in tune for market fluctuations as last year was a bad year and this year was an exceptionally good year,” he added.

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed presented awards to all of 14 the finalists. He said the awards prove how the Irish dairy sector is currently “well placed to realise its potential”.

“These farmers represent an example of high dairy products that are the best in the world. These awards are a celebration of what makes Irish milk unique. Irish farmers down through the generations generously shared their knowledge of the industry. This year’s winners will no doubt continue this tradition,” he said.


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