McCarthy Family From Limerick Crowned Winner Of The 2021 NDC And Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

The overall winner at the National Dairy Council (NDC) and Kerrygold Milk Quality Awards 2021 Michael & Mary Ita McCarthy, Feenagh, Co Limerick & their son Alex are pictured with Olympic Champion Kellie Harrington at a Teagasc open day in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork. Photo O’Gorman Photography.

Ornua and the National Dairy Council (NDC) announced the McCarthy family, from Limerick and suppling Kerry Agribusiness, as the winner of the 2021 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. The awards, dubbed the Oscars of the Dairy World, recognise, and celebrate the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming.
The winner was announced at a special awards ceremony at Moorepark Dairy Open Day following presentations to 12 farming families, representing the best of Irish dairy, by Olympic gold medallist Kellie Harrington. Winners Michael, Mary Ita and Alex McCarthy, supplying Kerry Agribusiness, received prize money and take home the coveted NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup. Michael, Mary Ita, and Alex farm together in Feenagh, Co. Limerick and live on the farm with Alex’s wife Siobhán and daughter Chloe.
Speaking on the awards, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 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.”
John Jordan, CEO 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, and we’re delighted to be able to celebrate with them here today.”
All farming finalists underwent a detailed assessment by an expert judging panel including Professor Pat Wall from UCD, Dr David Gleeson from Teagasc and Dr Jack Kennedy, Deputy Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. All finalists were judged on sustainable farming practices, milk quality, technical knowledge, and animal welfare on-farm practices. The NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards judges praised the impressive team effort from the family and the top-class results produced by the farm.
Commenting on the winning family, judge Dr David Gleeson, said; “Every year, we are incredibly impressed by the dedication and performance of the entrants to the awards. In 2021, the commitment of family farms across Ireland to producing the best quality milk in the world is still clear. This year, we are delighted to announce the McCarthy family, supplying Kerry Agribusiness, as the overall winner of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. The McCarthy family are innovating in all the right places, making data-driven decisions, and have succeeded in establishing sustainable systems in the environmental, welfare and technical activities of their farm. They are excellent ambassadors for the Irish dairy industry and are well-deserved winners of this year’s award.”
Zoe Kavanagh, CEO National Dairy Council, commented, “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.”
12 farming families, from eight counties, representing 12 dairy co-ops nationwide reached the finals of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards, with additional category awards presented on the day: Among them were:
Overall winner and category award winner for Environmental Infrastructure – McCarthy Family Farm, Limerick – Nominated by Kerry Agribusiness
Overall Runner up and category award winner for Business Innovation – O’Sullivan Family Farm, Cork – Nominated by Dairygold Co-op
National Finalist – Barry Family Farm, Cork – Nominated by North Cork Creameries
National Finalist – Hurley Family Farm, Cork – Nominated by Barryroe Co-op
National Finalist – Keane Family Farm, Kerry – Nominated by Lee Strand Co-op
National Finalist – Kingston Family Farm, Cork – Nominated by Drinagh Co-op
National Finalist – McCarthy Family Farm, Cork – Nominated by Lisavaird Co-op