A dairy farm near Carrick-on-Suir was crowned the country's top quality milk producer at the 2019 National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards last week.
Kieran Hearne and his family from Ballinacurra, Rathgormack were chosen from 13 farming family finalists representing 11 co-ops to receive the prestigious award at a ceremony in Dublin attended by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed last Wednesday, October 2.
The Hearne family, who were nominated by Glanbia, received a perpetual cup and €5000 in prize money.
The Hearnes also won the Sustainability Award at the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.
Kieran Hearne is a second generation farmer, who has been farming since 1990. He and his wife Ann, who have four children, expanded the farm in a sustainable manner to make it more profitable and continue to produce top quality milk.
The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards celebrate excellence in Irish dairy farming and this year expanded its criteria in the area of sustainable dairy farming to champion farmers committed to caring for their environment.
Minister Creed said the awards celebrate what is truly special about Ireland – our unique way of farming coupled with the passion our farmers have in producing the best quality milk in the world.
"The environment which we operate in is ever-changing and while we face significant challenges, it is important to celebrate our dairy farmers who continue to strive for excellence. It’s their hard work and dedication that forms the foundation of success for our industry," he saidl
John Jordan, CEO Ornua, congratulated the Hearne family on their win.
“Kieran is a true ambassador for Irish dairy. Not only is he dedicated to producing top quality milk, but he also demonstrated his commitment to sustainable dairy farming.
For each of the finalist farms, the judges detail the combined fat and protein percentage for each month of the year, the total volume sold from the farm, the weighted average somatic cell count (SCC) and the total bacteria count (TBC). These results, coupled with additional factors including evidence of sustainable dairy farming, help formulate the winning farms.