A Co Monaghan farm family has been announced as supreme champions of the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards.

Brian, Gene and Gene (junior) McGinnity, who farm in partnership at Scotstown, Co Monaghan, won the top prize for the exceptionally high-quality milk produced on their farm throughout the past year.

The McGinnitys also took home the <500,000l producer category award.

The winners emerged from among 3,200 farm families across 17 counties who produce milk for the two billion-litre Lakeland Dairies milk pool.

The Milk Quality Awards are a recognition of the achievements of Lakeland milk suppliers who are committed to quality in all aspects of their milk production.

The awards were presented by Lakeland Dairies’ chair Niall Matthews and group chief executive Colin Kelly at a special event in Corick House Hotel, Clogher, Co Tyrone, alongside Edwin Poots MLA, Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

'Great pride'

Matthews said the awards are a source of great pride, focusing on excellence in dairy farming.

“The markets we serve are demand-driven, with numerous supply channels available to customers and consumers.

“Every time dairy farmers step into the parlour, they are putting to use a lifetime of experience, knowledge and dedication.

“Milk quality is the backbone of everything we do. It ensures that our products end up in the best markets in the world, maintaining our reputation and supporting our livelihoods.

“The milk we collect from pasture-fed herds on family-owned farms is the high-quality raw material that has established our reputation as a leading global dairy provider,” he added.

Category winners

Lakeland Dairies also announced winners in several categories of the Milk Quality Awards.

Republic of Ireland

Less than 500,000l category winners

Eoin Corrigan, Trim, Co Meath, won the >500,000l producer category award in the Republic of Ireland.

The highly commended runners-up in this category was Oisín and Eamon Gallen, Ramelton, Co Donegal.

Greater than 500,000l category winners

Brian, Gene and Gene (junior) McGinnity, Scotstown, Co Monaghan, won the <500,000l producer category and were declared supreme champions.

Sean Kiernan, Kilcogy, Co Longford, was the highly commended runner-up.

Sustainability award

Ivan Thomas, Rahan, Co Offaly, won the sustainability award for outstanding commitment to sustainable milk production and environmental and economic sustainability.

Northern Ireland

Greater than 1m litre category winners

Stephen and Mark Montgomery, Drumahoe, Co Derry, won the >1m litre milk producer category in Northern Ireland.

Edwin and Gary Bryson, Craigavon, Co Armagh, were the highly commended runners-up.

Less than 1m litre category winners

Seán and Ciaran Mc Naughton, Ballymena, Co Antrim, won the <1m litre producer category in Northern Ireland.

Mark Rea, Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, was the highly commended runner-up.

Best new entrants

Derek Ray, Moate, Co Westmeath, was declared winner of the Republic of Ireland best new entrant category.

Mark Lewis, Portadown, Co Armagh, won the Northern Ireland best new entrant category.

Lakeland Dairies young farmer award

Matthew Adams, Strangford, Co Down, won the inaugural Lakeland Dairies young farmer award.

The award is aimed at recognising the activity and involvement of young farmers in bringing fresh and new ideas to the family farm.

The winner receives a bursary to take part in an agricultural study tour of their choice before the end of 2025.