The McCarthy family from near Feenagh in Co Limerick, who supply Kerry Agribusiness, have been crowned overall winners in the NDC/Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2021.

The winners were announced at a ceremony on day two of the Moorepark Open Day.

The winners

Michael, Mary Ita and Alex McCarthy have been farming in partnership for the last four years and have increased cow numbers, but also improved yield and efficiency.

The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup nd prize money was presented to the winners by Olympic boxing gold medallist Kellie Harrington.

Michael, Mary Ita, and Alex farm together in Feenagh, Co Limerick and live on the farm with Alex’s wife Siobhan and daughter Chloe.

Passion and dedication

Speaking on the awards, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said: “The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards are a unique way of celebrating what is truly special about Ireland. The passion and dedication of Irish family farms, together with our unique farming system, has helped build a strong reputation for Ireland as a high-quality, sustainable food producer.

"While we face significant challenges as an industry, it is important to celebrate our dairy farmers who are ambassadors for the industry, committed to maintaining exceptional standards in milk quality and sustainable farming."

Incredible role models

John Jordan, CEO of Ornua, congratulated the McCarthy family on their win, commenting: “Each year, the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards celebrate the hard work and passion of Irish farming families. Their dedication to their craft results in the best quality milk in the world, off a grass-based system, and is the key ingredient to Kerrygold’s global success. The McCarthy family are incredible role models for sustainable, high-quality milk production.”

Worthy winners

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the National Dairy Council, said: "I am delighted to congratulate this year’s worthy winners who once again have demonstrated the excellence of Irish dairy farming. Dairy farming has been going on in Ireland for over 4,000 years, it’s a part of our national identity. Our grass-fed family farming system is ideally suited to the Irish climate and delivers world-class produce.

"The farmers who have been awarded this year represent the highest standards as food producers delivering an exceptional product that is enjoyed at home and revered by consumers all over the world.”

Roll of honour

This year 12 farming families, from eight counties, representing 12 dairy co-ops nationwide reached the finals of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. The winners of the additional category awards presented on the day were:

  • Overall winner & category award winner for environmental infrastructure: McCarthy family farm, Limerick – nominated by Kerry Agribusiness.
  • Overall runner-up and category award winner for best milk quality: Banville family farm, Wexford – nominated by Glanbia Ireland.
  • Overall runner-up and category award winner for business innovation: O’Sullivan family farm, Cork – Nominated by Dairygold Co-op.
  • Category award winner for farm development: Fitzpatrick family farm, Longford – nominated by Lakeland Dairies.
  • Category award winner for farm development: Hamm family farm, Westmeath – nominated by Aurivo Co-op.
  • Category award winner for Farm Sustainability: Ormond family farm, Tipperary – nominated by Centenary Thurles.

    Other finalists

    Barry family farm, Cork – nominated by North Cork Creameries.

    Hurley family farm, Cork – nominated by Barryroe Co-op.

    Keane family farm, Kerry – nominated by Lee Strand Co-op.

    Kingston family farm, Cork – nominated by Drinagh Co-op.

    McCarthy family farm, Cork – nominated by Lisavaird Co-op.

    O’Brien Family Farm, Galway – Nominated by Arrabawn Co-op