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The Hearne family farm crowned winner of 2019 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

The best of Irish dairy farmers celebrated at the 2019 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards crowned the Hearne family from Rathgormack, Co Waterford as the top-quality milk producer in the country. The awards, dubbed ‘the Oscars of the Dairy World’ celebrates excellence in Irish dairy farming and this year expanded its criteria in the area of sustainable dairy farming to champion farmers committed to caring for their environment.

The winner was announced at a special awards ceremony in Dublin following presentations to thirteen farming families, representing the very best of Irish dairy, by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed. Winner Kieran Hearne, supplying Glanbia Ireland, received €5,000 prize money and take home the coveted NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup.

Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine commented, “The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards celebrate what is truly special about Ireland – our unique way of farming coupled with the passion our farmers have in producing the best quality milk in the world. The environment which we operate in is ever-changing and while we face significant challenges, it is important to celebrate our dairy farmers who continue to strive for excellence. It’s their hard work and dedication that forms the foundation of success for our industry.”

Kieran Hearne is a second-generation farmer and has been farming since 1990. The family have expanded their farm in a sustainable manner to make it more profitable and continue to produce top quality milk.

John Jordan, CEO Ornua, congratulated the Hearne family on their win commenting “Kieran is a true ambassador for Irish dairy – not only is he dedicated to producing top quality milk, but he also demonstrated his commitment to sustainable dairy farming. The pride, passion and dedication of our farmers is the vital ingredient to the success of the Kerrygold brand world-wide. Nature affords us with the natural advantage of our grass-based system but its farmers like Kieran that turn this advantage into one of Ireland’s most sought after resources – the very best quality milk in the world.”

For each of the finalist farms, the judges detail the combined fat and protein percent for each month of the year, the total volume sold from the farm, the weighted average somatic cell count (SCC) and the total bacteria count (TBC). These results, coupled with additional factors including evidence of sustainable dairy farming, help formulate the winning farms.

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO National Dairy Council commented “Sustainability was firmly on the agenda for us at this year’s awards. Consumers are demanding natural sustainably produced food and our dairy farmers are well placed to deliver this. 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. I am proud to represent these excellent food producers today who once again have excelled in producing high quality Irish dairy 365 days a year!”            

Winners – 2019 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards  #madeforthis

National Winners of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2019

Adam and Valerie Shorten and Family, Eniskeane, Co Cork

Nominated by Bandon Co Op

Joe and T.J Stack, Tralee, Co Kerry

Nominated by Kerry Agribusiness

Liam Hanrahan and Family, Co Cork

Nominated by North Cork Creameries

Michael Gunn and Family, Strokestown, Co Roscommon

Nominated by Aurivo

Tom, Ellen and Michael Nyhan, Ballineen, Co Cork

Nominated by Lisavaird Co-op

Development Award

Brendan O' Driscoll, Leap, Co. Cork

Nominated by Drinagh Co-op

Best Milk Solids Per Cow

Charles McCandless, Culdaff, Co. Donegal

Nominated by Aurivo Co -op

Best Milk Solids - Manufacturing Milk      

Ailbe and Denise Ryan, Cappawhite, Co Tipperary

Nominated by Arrabawn Co-Op

Model Business Collaboration

Pat and Miriam Kiely and Ciaran Hanrahan (PMC Dairy Farm), Ballinamult, Co. Waterford.

Nominated by Glanbia Ireland

Pioneering in Dairy

The McCoy Family, Smithboro, Co Monaghan

Nominated by Lakeland Dairies

Best SCC

Donovan’s Ballybranagh, Cloyne Co. Cork

Nominated by Dairygold

Sustainability Award

Kieran and Ann Hearne, Rathgormack, Co Waterford

Glanbia Ireland

Best Technical Knowledge

The Walsh Family, Bandon, Co Cork

Nominated by Barryroe Co-Op

Pictured below: Kieran Hearne and family raise the coveted NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup after being taking home prize for top-quality milk producer in the country.

The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards crowned the Hearne family farm as the top-quality milk producer in the country
Jeanne Spillane