Aurivo’s nominee the Gordon family’s dairy farm is truly remarkable, going beyond the typical farm one would expect to find in this competition. Their story is so captivating, it could easily be the plot of a film.

Michael Gordon’s passion for land and farming runs deep, rivalling that of the Bull McCabe. His journey started at a young age when he began working with his uncles constructing slatted houses, eventually purchasing his first 11 acres at the age of 18. Over time, he expanded the farm to 60 acres, driven by his love for the land.

In 2001, when Michael married Ita, he shifted careers and became a full-time Dad and part-time farmer, balancing his responsibilities with Ita’s demanding job in the IDA Sligo office.

As their family grew, Michael needed a job compatible with their family life, so he acquired a chip van and started touring festivals and community events in Co Mayo. With the help of his four apprentices, Emily, Kevin, Ciara and Aoife, the chip van venture thrived.

In 2012, their story took an exciting turn when Ita got an opportunity to work in the New York office of the IDA. They decided to lease the farm, park up the chip van, and embark on a three-year adventure in the United States.

During their time in New York, Michael took on the role of caring for their children and immersing them in the Irish community, creating lasting memories.

They returned to Ireland in 2015 and Michael began adapting the farm to become a new entrant to dairying. He made significant improvements, such as building a parlour, installing cubicles, establishing roadways, and reseeding the land.

By 2018, they were able to milk 35 cows, and this year, with leasing a neighbouring 180ac farm, their herd has grown to 75 cows. The farm participates in the GLAS environmental scheme with a large area of habitat.

The Gordon children were not adversely impacted by leaving their friends and schools in Ireland and embarking for the US; in fact, they thrived. Each of them possesses a distinct and vibrant personality, and their achievements speak volumes.

Kevin, for instance, is currently studying agriculture at UCD and on the farm visit he impressed his professor, Karina Pierce, with his competencies in various areas, including grassland management (35 grass measures each year) , bovine genetics, sexed semen utilisation, prudent dry cow therapy and cost management.

The leased farm also includes substantial bogland, which has been left untouched to promote biodiversity and serve as a sanctuary for wildlife.

Alongside the thriving dairy farm, the chip van is once again hitting the road, and a successful catering business has emerged.

While it remains unclear whether the business acumen belongs to Ita, Michael, or both, one thing is certain: this is a truly exceptional family enterprise and a credit to all involved.

This farm has excellent milk solids and milk quality with 3.86% protein and a butterfat of 4.72%. There is a relentless focus on solids % in the breeding decisions and use of JX animals in the past combined with excellent grassland management are key to this success.

The SCC count averages 40,000 and TBC is 7. The milking plant is manually washed using Kollene powder and twice per week with hot water ( 80oC).

The plant is rinsed with cold water containing Peracetic acid. Acid descale is used once per week. Autosan Blue is used for the bulk milk tank.