Left to right: Alo Duffy, Chairman, Lakeland Dairies; David Gunn, Easyfix; Kevin McInerney; Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and The Gaeltacht; Kevin’s son Conor McInerney and Michael Hanley, Group CEO, Lakeland Dairies.
At the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards, dairy farmers from both sides of the border won top honours for the exceptionally high quality of milk produced on their farms. The awards publicly recognise the achievements of Lakeland Dairies milk suppliers who are committed to efficiency and quality in all aspects of their milk production.
Winning a milk quality award is a deeply impressive achievement where individual dairy farmers have produced the highest quality milk, benchmarked against 2,500 other high quality dairy farmers supplying over 1.1 Billion litres of milk to Lakeland Dairies. The awards were presented by Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and The Gaeltacht, together with Lakeland Dairies Chairman Alo Duffy and Chief Executive, Michael Hanley.
- Kevin McInerney of Pullabawn, Co. Cavan won the Lakeland Dairies Supreme Milk Quality Award and also won the 500,000+ litres milk production category. The runner-up in this category was Nicholas Cooney, Tymullen, Monasterboice, Co. Louth.
- Eamonn Gargan, Mullagh, Kells, Co. Meath, won the 0 – 500,000 litres milk production category, closely followed by runners-up Derek & Daniel Flynn, Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath.
- In the category for New Entrants to Dairy Farming, Ciaran & Kathy Kavanagh, Ballycommon, Tullamore, Co. Offaly won this award for exceptional milk quality.
- The overall Northern Ireland Milk Quality Award Winner is Rex Wilson, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. The Northern Ireland runners-up are Albert & David McCrea, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Congratulating the winners, Minister Humphreys said:
“The Lakeland Dairies milk quality awards help to showcase the very high standards in the Irish dairy sector, which helps to boost trade of Irish produce in global markets. Our dairy industry has a very positive reputation worldwide and this is underpinned by our vibrant co-operative sector and by dairy farmers who go the extra mile to ensure quality from farm to fork. In doing so, they are playing a very important role in the rural and regional economy, supporting employment and opportunities in rural communities. I would like to congratulate today's winners and wish Lakeland Dairies and all of its members and milk producers continuing success in the future.”
Lakeland Dairies Chairman Alo Duffy said:
“Lakeland Dairies is a market leading global provider of excellent dairy products and we have a very positive reputation developed over many years and decades. We depend entirely on overall quality and reliability across all of the products we supply to world markets. That process begins with our milk suppliers. Producing the best quality milk requires immense commitment and hard work all year around. These winners show the very high standards that exist across our entire milk supply base and they are to be warmly congratulated.”
Lakeland Chief Executive Michael Hanley said:
“We market a wide range of dairy foodservice and food ingredient products worldwide. With 230 different products, that is nearly 100% of all milk sent to us that we export in the form of value added products. The first building block in that process is the milk that we collect for processing and we’re fortunate to have very high quality milk suppliers across 15 counties on an all-island basis. The Milk Quality Award winners are exemplary of the very best traditions of excellence in dairy farming.
“There is still volatility in world dairy markets and that is why we recently introduced a fixed milk price scheme to help to provide some certainty for our milk producers. Any improvement in dairy market conditions will be very welcome. There are some signs that a gradual improvement in world dairy markets may emerge by year-end. There is still a high level of dairy oversupply on world markets even though the actual rate of growth in milk supply has started to slow down.”