National Winners in the Dairy Category for Small/Medium Herd, Lakeland Dairies' milk suppliers Mairead & Pat McLoughlin from Thomastown, Rath, Birr, Co. Offaly
The Chairman and Board and Management of Lakeland Dairies have expressed their pride in milk supplying dairy farmers Mairead and Pat McLoughlin of Birr, Co. Offaly who have been identified as ‘Champions of Sustainability’ having won the overall Small/Medium Herd Category of the Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards.
The McLoughlins emerged as overall national winners from a shortlist of 15 dairy finalists selected from 16,200 dairy farmers who are members of the Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme.
This is not the first time that the McLoughlins have won accolades for the high quality of their dairy farming. Earlier this year they won the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Award for Sustainability for their outstanding commitment to sustainable milk production, based on measures including carbon footprint, biodiversity, water management and milk quality results.
The McLoughlins currently milk 56 cows with plans to increase this number to 66. They are new entrants to dairying having taken over from Mairead’s father, Michael Gleeson, in 2014. The judges found that thanks to their dedication to measuring performance on-farm they have achieved excellent farm sustainability. The importance of animal health and welfare also stood out for the judges.
The Origin Green Farmer Awards recognise and reward the exceptional performance being achieved by members of its Sustainable Quality Assurance schemes for beef, horticulture and dairy. These schemes are pivotal to differentiating Irish food products in the global marketplace. Participating farms meet high standards around hygiene, farm safety, traceability, animal welfare, remedy use and commitment to their locality.
Paying tribute to Mr and Mrs McLoughlin, Lakeland Dairies’ Chairman Alo Duffy said, “Lakeland Dairies understands our farmers’ position as guardians of the countryside and we know that farming is at the heart of thriving rural communities. We work with our members to develop farm based initiatives to enhance farm profitability and environmental protection and we prioritise environmentally efficient manufacturing at our processing facilities.
“Mairead and Pat McLoughlin are exemplary of both the very best traditions and the advanced modern day practices of dairy farming and they are also exemplary of the excellent milk supply base and high quality dairy farmers who we are fortunate to have across our entire catchment areas in Lakeland Dairies.
“The markets that we deal with are largely demand led, with multiple supply channels for customers and consumers to choose from. They want products that are safely, securely and sustainably produced and we need to be able to verify that this is the case to the satisfaction of our international customers. The milk we collect for processing, produced from pasture fed herds on family owned farms, is the high quality raw material on which we have built our reputation as a global dairy provider."
Lakeland Dairies is a farmer owned dairy processing co-operative with operations across 15 counties on a cross border basis. Lakeland collects and processes over 1.2 Billion litres of locally produced milk each year into a wide range of value-added dairy foodservice and food ingredient products which it exports worldwide.