Seán and Eimear Murtagh with Liam Cahill of Lakeland Dairies.

Rathconrath farm family honoured for highest quality milk

Rathconrath farm family honoured for highest quality milk

Dairy farmers Seán and Paul Murtagh, Rathconrath, were declared winners of the new entrant category in the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards for the exceptionally high quality of milk they have produced on their farm throughout the past year.

The Milk Quality Awards publicly recognise the achievements of Lakeland Dairies milk suppliers who are committed to quality in all aspects of their milk production.

Winning a milk quality award is a truly excellent achievement. The winners emerged from among 3,200 farm families in 16 counties who produce milk for the 1.9bn litres Lakeland Dairies milk pool.

Lakeland Dairies chair Niall Matthews paid tribute to the award winners: “Dairy farmers are the primary producers of the 1.9 billion litres of milk that we use as the essential raw material to create the wide variety of dairy products for our customers worldwide.

“It requires insight and expertise passed from generation to generation, combined with knowledge and application of the best modern day practices in animal husbandry, grassland management, environmental sustainability and overall farm management.

“The pasture-based milk production model yields a food product that is natural, wholesome and sustainable in all of its qualities. The past year has been very challenging for everyone in society and across all of our local communities.

"We are proud of the high quality of our milk pool as exemplified by the winners of the Lakeland Dairies milk quality awards and I congratulate all our dairy farmers for their achievements and for their excellent ongoing contribution to our farmer owned dairy co-operative.”

Lakeland Dairies Group CEO Michael Hanley added: “The population of the world, individuals, families and entire nations, rely on the quality and integrity of the global food supply chain from farm to fork.

"This has never more been the case than throughout the course of the pandemic where maintaining the resilience of domestic and international food supply channels has helped to provide reassurance and stability worldwide.

“The milk producers of Lakeland Dairies have always met this responsibility with great commitment and dedication and I am delighted to pay tribute to their achievements as we recognise our milk quality award winners, north and south.

"Quality and sustainability are the building blocks of our entire business and this underpins the trust that our customers and consumers place in us. The basis of our ongoing progress and success is found first and foremost within the farm gate, among our 3,200 farm families, and onwards through the facilities we operate, supplying some 240 products to 80 countries worldwide.

"I warmly congratulate our milk quality award winners, and I thank all of our milk producers, for the high quality of milk that they supply to us for processing.”

Winners in other categories

In the Republic of Ireland, Patrick, Sheila and James Connolly, Ballymahon, Longwood, are winners of the <500,000 litre producer category.

In Northern Ireland, Robert and Mark Bristow, Rasharkin, County Antrim won the <1m litre producer category.

The Supreme Champions of the awards are Eugene and Deirdre Fitzpatrick Lisryan, Granard, and Cyril Gibson, Beragh, Omagh, County Tyrone, for the exceptionally high quality of milk they have produced on their farms throughout the past year.

The Fitzpatricks also took home the >500,000 litre producer category award in the Republic of Ireland, while the Gibsons are winners in the >1m litre producer category in Northern Ireland.

New Entrant to Dairying Winners

Recognising the achievements of new entrants to dairying, where Lakeland has welcomed more than 350 new milk producers to the co-operative in recent years, Sean and Paul Murtagh, Rathconrath, were declared winners of the Republic of Ireland new entrant category, while Bernard and Rory McKeever, Kilmore, County Armagh, won the Northern Ireland new entrant category, for the high quality of their milk supplied to Lakeland Dairies.