Sammy McCormick wins annual Dairy Expo Lifetime Achievement Award

Sammy McCormick John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award winner, with the Dennison family.
Sammy McCormick John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award winner, with the Dennison family.

This year’s Borderway UK Dairy Expo saw the announcement and presentation of the third John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award to Sammy McCormick, of the Hilltara Herd, Bangor.

The award is in memory of the highly regarded breeder of the Denmire Holsteins, John Dennison of Scales Park Farm, Ulverston and is presented by his family to the person judged to be an exemplary role model to the industry. Sammy McCormick, is a former chair of the Holstein Breeders Society in Ireland, and is one of the breed’s leading figures throughout the UK.

Commenting on his influence on the industry John Dennison’s son Michael said” Sammy has contributed a great deal to the Holstein Society and breed in his working lifetime. His passion, work ethic and strong drive for quality within his herd makes him an ideal recipient of this award.”

“Sammy and my father were industry contemporaries and we, as a family are delighted to present this award in his name.”

Born and brought up in Bangor, Northern Ireland, Sammy currently milks 290 cows, with a herd average 10,000 litres. He is supported by his whole family, but his mainstays are his wife Trish and son John, both integral to the development of the Hilltara Herd.

The Hilltara Prefix is well known throughout the UK and Ireland and with a staggering 80EX and 150VG cattle in the current herd, Sammy strives to breed great Holstein Cattle. He makes sure all sales and shows in Northern Ireland are well supported with his quality cattle.

Sammy has developed many cow families in the herd including the Maudes, Charlottes, Echoes, and more recently Reanns and Divines. The Maudes are said to be the most notable, which started with Medway Supreme Maude, which was in many ways his all-time favourite. She competed and won so many times in her long show career. Her many accolades include; twice Reserve All Britain, Reserve at The Royal, Reserve at UK National Holstein Show, numerous Balmoral Champions and Irish National Champions.

Sammy himself was overcome to be presented with the award. He said: “This is a total surprise and I am absolutely delighted to accept this award. We welcomed John himself to our farm, and he was without a doubt a true champion. To receive this award is a great achievement for everyone involved on our family farm.”

Nominations for the award are judged by a panel of leading figures involved in pedigree dairy cattle breeding who looking for the perfect combination of ability, sportsmanship, integrity and character within the Dairy Industry.

John was a renowned pedigree breeder, judging, and showman; he was also a great ambassador for the Holstein breed and a mentor for the younger generation of Holstein breeders. Following his death in 2012 his family honoured to be invited to initiate and present an award by Glyn Lucas of Harrison and Hetherington.

The two previous winners of the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award were Mike Miller of Shanael Holsteins, near Evesham in Worcestershire - who won the award for the huge help he has given to a generation of young breeders – and John Gribbon who is a noted UK and international figure in the dairy industry and who is in demand to judge throughout the world.