The National Dairy Council (NDC) has expanded its flagship farm ambassador programme by recruiting two more dairy farmers to grow its ambassador team to a strength of 13.

The programme sees the NDC utilise dairy farmers to raise awareness of the sustainability of Ireland’s grass-based dairy systems through advertising, media appearances and across social media.

The two new appointees have been announced as Galway’s Enda Walsh and Sligo’s Christopher Tuffy.

Walsh graduated from UCD with a degree in dairy business. He travelled to New Zealand and studied in Teagasc Moorepark, before returning home to farm alongside his parents outside Oranmore.

2022 FBD Young Farmer of the Year Christopher Tuffy will represent Co Sligo as an ambassador.

Tuffy studied at Mountbellew Agricultural College and Kildalton Agricultural College, with experience in New Zealand’s dairy industry. He now milks 150 cows near Doonally.

'Clear plan'

The dairy sector did not have a clear plan for getting its message across to the general public, NDC farm advocacy manager Majella McCafferty said on announcing the two new ambassadors.

However, McCafferty maintains that the NDC programme is giving dairy farmers the opportunity to communicate the merits of Irish dairy to the public and raise awareness of actions being taken on farms to improve environmental sustainability.

“For some time now, the industry has lacked a consistent approach to communicating our side of the story and, as a result, we’ve been reactive rather than proactive and on the back foot,” she commented.

“They say that if you’re having to explain, then you’ve lost, and – sadly – that’s where we are.

“What we need is a clear voice, championing our industry with positive stories about the reality of life on the farm, the effective measures being undertaken to address the environmental challenges, the people that make dairy happen and the future that they want to have.”