Competition begins for ‘Sam Maguire of farming’

Dairy co-ops throughout Ireland have been invited to nominate their top dairy farmers for the ‘Sam Maguire of Farming’ with the launch of the 2012 National Dairy Council & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

Dairy co-ops throughout Ireland have been invited to nominate their top dairy farmers for the ‘Sam Maguire of Farming’ with the launch of the 2012 National Dairy Council & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

The national award programme sets out to identify and reward excellence in dairy farming and also recognises individual farmers who are role models, whose insights and practices are valuable learnings for others in dairy farming.

Nomination is based initially on technical information related to milk quality testing records for a period of over 12 months and farm management practices. Those who are short-listed as finalists have their farms inspected by the national judging panel, who explore milk quality standards but also broader aspects related to top quality dairy farming, including animal welfare, care for the environment and sustainability.

The independent expert judging panel for the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards is: Professor Patrick Wall, Associate Professor of Public Health at UCD; Dr David Gleeson, Milk Quality Research, Teagasc; and Dr. Jack Kennedy, Dairy Editor, Irish Farmers Journal.

Each co-op nominating dairy farmers for the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards is selecting their top farmers from their entire pool of suppliers.

Depending on the size of the dairy co-op, farmers nominated for the national award programme are potentially representing hundreds of farmers and have already demonstrated that they are the ‘cream of the crop’ in their region in order to secure a nomination.

The overall winning farmer will receive a prize of €5,000 and the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual trophy. It is also at the discretion of the judges each year to select whether category prizes will be awarded – for instance in areas such as sustainability, animal welfare or care of the environment.

Entry forms for the 2012 Awards are being distributed to dairy co-ops, with a closing date for nominations of Friday, April 27. Additional entry forms will be available to download from www.qualitymilkawards.ie or www.ndc.ie. You can also email queries to qualitymilkawards@ndc.ie or call 01-290 2451 for further information.