A dairy farming family in Co. Monaghan have been announced as the Supreme Champions of the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards, which recognise the highest quality milk production.

The awards were presented by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, alongside the chairman of Lakeland Dairies Niall Mathews and group chief executive Michael Hanley, yesterday (June 23). Speaking at the awards, Minister McConalogue said:

“Producing high quality milk is not something that is done overnight. It is a lifetime’s achievement and the result of a commitment to excellence every time you step into the parlour.”

“I commend all the Lakeland Dairies farm families who are the bedrock of a hugely impressive cross-border operation,” he added.

William and Alan Nicholson from Drumacrib in Castleblayney claimed the top spot at the event for “the exceptionally high quality of milk produced on their farm throughout the past year”.

They also took home first place in the >500,000l producer category in the Republic of Ireland. Meanwhile, the runners up in this category were Richard and Joan Greene who run a dairy farming enterprise in Killeen, Multyfarham in Co. Westmeath.

In the >500,000l category, Sean Higgins from Trim in Co. Meath was announced as the winner, while Michael Smith of Lishenry in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan was a highly commended runner up.

In the sustainability category of the awards, Rosemary and David Moran, a dairy farming couple from Glasson in Athlone Co. Westmeath were the winners, for their commitment to environmental and economic stability in milk production.

Northern Ireland awards

As a cross border co-op, the winners in the Northern Ireland division were also announced at the event.

In the >1 million litres category, John Morrow and Scott Davidson of Gilnahirk in Co. Down were announced as the winners, while Fred and David Liggett, a farm family from Stewartstown in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone were commended as the runners up.

Similarly, in the <1 million litres category, William and Robert McCrum were named the winners for the quality of milk produced at their farm in Markethill, Co. Armagh. Meanwhile, Harry, Lex and Alastair Campbell of Ballymoney in Co. Antrim were named as the runners up in the category.

Speaking at the event, chairman Niall Mathews congratulated all that took part in the awards.

“Dairy farmers produce the 2 billion litres of wholesome milk that we use to create a diverse range of dairy products for our customers worldwide. Dairy farming crosses the generations, creating a livelihood for families while contributing to rural economic development and environmental sustainability.

“I congratulate all of our dairy farmers for their achievements and for their excellent ongoing contribution to our farmer owned dairy co-operative,” he concluded.