NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2017 opens for entries

Two of this year's judges Irish chef Clodagh McKenna and David Gleeson from Teagasc pictured on the Cocoman family farm in Naas who were previous winners of the awards in 2009
Two of this year's judges Irish chef Clodagh McKenna and David Gleeson from Teagasc pictured on the Cocoman family farm in Naas who were previous winners of the awards in 2009

This year’s Quality Milk Awards have officially opened for entries; the competition is designed to identify and reward the country’s top dairy farm.

Dairy co-ops throughout the country are invited to nominate their top milk suppliers before the closing date of Friday 26th May 2017.

Last year’s overall winners were Tom and Moya Power, fifth generation of their family to farm at Drumhills farm in Co Waterford.

“One of the key elements I took from farming alongside my parents is their emphasis on attention to detail in every aspect of farming practices,” said Tom.

“Another crucial element to our farm is our helping team. Although my father, Jim, has taken a step back over the years he is still a machine to work with and an encyclopedia of knowledge alongside my mother Breda.”

The judges for this year’s awards are Dr Jack Kennedy, dairy editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, Professor Pat Wall from UCD and Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc.

The organisers are delighted to welcome a new judge to this year’s panel, Irish chef and food writer Clodagh McKenna.

Clodagh is a passionate advocate of quality Irish dairy produce.

She said: “As an Irish chef working abroad, Irish dairy produce has a superb reputation for quality in global markets. In Ireland, many of us take it for granted that we have countryside with so many fields of grass – but our green countryside is a tremendous asset because the pasture-based model of dairy farming is a vital ingredient for the success of Irish dairy produce all over the world.”

The judges will initially undertake detailed assessments based on the nomination forms and technical reports spanning a full 12-month period in order to select a short-list of finalists.

The judges will then arrange to visit each of the finalist farms for an inspection over the summer months.

In addition to identifying the top dairy farm, the national judges reserve the option to award specific category awards in sectors which stand out from year to year, such as care for the environment or animal care and welfare.

“When we visit the short-listed farms every year as judges we see at first hand the genuine pride of Irish farmers and why they are #MadeForThis,” said Dr David Gleeson, Teagasc.

“What stands out is dedication to doing things right; a thirst for sharing knowledge and learning about ways to improve how things are done; and a heartfelt wish to carry on the tradition of the family farm, passing on the farm as good as, or better than it was before to the next generation.”

Nominations for the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards should be submitted from co-ops and co-op farm services managers using the official nomination form, before Friday 26th May, 2017.

For further information and entry forms please contact Lynda Thompson at the National Dairy Council on 01 290 2511.

Please note that the minimum qualifying standard for entry for this national competition is TBC of 15,000 or less/ml average per month; and average SCC of 200,000 or less/ml with no count greater than 400,000 ml in any given month of the year in question.

The winners will be announced at a special QMA Awards Lunch on 4th October 2017 in Dublin.