A Focus on Sustainability - 2018 QMA Winners to Host Farm Walk and Seminar

A Focus on Sustainability - 2018 QMA Winners to Host Farm Walk and Seminar

20 May, 2019: The National Dairy Council in association with Teagasc, Ornua and Lakeland Dairies will host the Annual Farm Walk and Seminar on the McKenna Family Farm in Co Monaghan on 12th June 2019.

Darran and Denise McKenna of Derrygasson, Co Monaghan were the winners of the 2018 NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards which have been running since 1996 and celebrate excellence in Irish dairy farming.

A seminar focusing on food and sustainability will precede the Farm Walk; speakers on the day will include Dr. Marianne Walsh, Senior Nutritionist with the NDC; Jess Murphy¸ award-winning chef and owner of Kai Restaurant in Galway; and a representative from the Ornua Consumer Division. Jess is from New Zealand and is an award-winning chef now based in Galway. She has a fundamental belief in the importance of food production and sustainability and her restaurant has won a 3-star rating from Food Made Good.

Jess said “Food waste is one of the world’s biggest sustainability issues but easily preventable with the introduction of food education. Not only would this help individuals become more adventurous with what they’re eating, it would help save their hard-earned money. The area of land needed to grow the food that ends up in landfill is larger than the size of China! We have to focus on increasing awareness and education, it will be key to tackling this global issue."

Demand for food and drink has changed and consumers now want their food to be produced in a sustainable environment. For many consumers the primary consideration is addressing climate change, water sustainability and economic sustainability including food waste. This will also be mirrored on products bought in supermarkets with traceability, ecological impact and info on carbon footprint all becoming crucial issues for consumers in the 21st century.

Delegates of the NDC seminar will form the first group of invited guests to take part in a tour of the McKenna Family Farm. The farm walk, hosted by Teagasc, will open to members of the public from 1:30pm.  This is a great opportunity for dairy farming families and new entrants into dairy farming to see at first-hand the types of achievable steps which can raise quality standards and help to maintain those standards throughout the year. 

Tom O Dwyer, Teagasc Dairy Knowledge Transfer Specialist, urged dairy farmers to avail of the opportunity to visit this award-winning family farm. “The McKenna farm is great example of a top-class dairy farm, and all dairy farmers and those thinking of entering the sector should come along on 12th June to see the farm for themselves and meet the family.” 

At least five generations are known to have farmed in Darran and Denise’s farm in Derrygasson. The McKenna’s farm is very much a family farm, their nephews and nieces are all available to help out in times of need and even their neighbour Cormac helps out with relief milking. Success to Darran is the ability to grow more grass sustainably. The family invested in the farm in 2007 when sheds, parlour and tunnels were constructed to allow them build the cow numbers from 60 to 90 by 2017 and up to 105 cows this year.

On the farm walk, groups will be led around the McKenna farm and cover off the following topics:

  • Farm performance, both current and over time
  • Producing high quality milk with low SCC and TBC
  • Sustainable milk production while caring for the environment
  • Reduced antibiotic use – the case for selective dry cow therapy
  • Taste the difference! Grass fed milk tastes better

Lakeland Dairies chairman Alo Duffy said:

“We are proud to have Darran and Denise as suppliers of Lakeland Dairies. They are tremendous ambassadors for the Co-op, their county and dairy farmers across the country. We are delighted to be working with the NDC, Ornua and Teagasc to promote the benefits of strong, sustainable dairy farming. Winning the 2018 NDC / Kerrygold Quality Milk Award is an incredible achievement for Darran and Denise and it shows what the rewards are for achieving greatness each day. We look forward to seeing you all at the farm walk on 12th June.”

For further information about the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards visit www.qualitymilkawards.ie


For further information contact:

Cathy Curran, Communications Manager, National Dairy Council

+353 1 290 2451   |   pr@ndc.ie


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