Donegal family farm crowned winner of 2020 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

Lifford farmer wins the Oscars of the dairy world for the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming

Donegal family farm crowned winner of 2020 NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards

The Starrett family from Killendarragh, Lifford

The Starrettt family  from Killendarragh, Lifford have been named the as the winner of the 2020 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards.

Now in its 11th year, the awards, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the Dairy World’, acknowledge, and celebrate the highest standards of excellence in dairy farming.

The 2020 shortlist was made up of 11 dairy farming families representing 11 dairy co-ops nationwide.

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.

Each of the finalists were judged on sustainable farming practices, milk quality, technical knowledge and animal welfare on-farm practices.

Winner Richard Starrett, supplying Aurivo Co-op, will receive €5,000 in prize money and take home the coveted NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards perpetual cup.

His farm in Killendarragh, Lifford, is a true family operation where he resides with his parents, his wife Wendy and children David, Holly and John. Richard believes sustainability is the biggest and most important aspect of farming and is focused on improving the sustainability of his farm.

Professor Pat Wall commented: “Since the establishment of the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards in 2009, the standard of entrants has improved year on year; which is a credit to the immense dedication of Irish family farms to producing the best quality milk in the world.

Consumers all over the world would be reassured by the attention to detail in terms of hygiene, food safety, animal health and welfare and environmental protection applied by each of our finalists.

This year, we are delighted to announce the Starrett family from Lifford as the winner of the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards. Their passion for quality, and commitment to sustainable on-farm practices, technical expertise and animal welfare make them well-deserved winners of this year’s award.”

This year, the winner was revealed live, for the first time ever, during a three-minute special extended ad break of The Late Late Show last night, Friday, October 30.

In a specially produced video, the stories of the 11 finalists were captured and the winner was then revealed on air to the suspense of all 11 finalists, their families, their co-ops and their communities.
Although a traditional awards ceremony was not possible this year, The Late Late Show announcement allowed families all over Ireland to share in the celebration of the incredible hard work of Irish dairy family farms all over the country.

John Jordan, CEO Ornua, congratulated the Starrett family on their win, commenting: “Every year, the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards highlight the incredible commitment and dedication of farming families all over Ireland.

"Their pride and hard work are what make Kerrygold a world-famous, family favourite at home and abroad. This year, Ireland’s dairy farming families have been working harder than ever to keep Irish dairy products on kitchen tables in Ireland and around the world – all whilst maintaining exceptional standards in milk quality and sustainable farming.

"We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate our winners, the Starrett family, as they are excellent role models of the resilience and passion that are at the heart of Irish farming families.”

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO National Dairy Council, commented: “There has never been a better time to celebrate excellence in dairy farming. Irish dairy has one of the lowest carbon footprints internationally, primarily due to the unique Irish grass-fed, family-farmed system which is extremely efficient and involves less intensive farming.

"During challenging times people need to have trust in what they know. Irish dairy is recognised as a vital part of people’s diet and general health across the life stages, indispensable to Ireland’s social and economic well-being.

"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,” she said.

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