Farmer Ambassador Programme

The National Dairy Council Farmer Ambassador Programme brings together a team of people involved in the production of Irish dairy, who act as advocates and spokespeople for Ireland’s family-farm-based, grass-fed dairy production system.

They are champions for the many initiatives being employed to make Irish dairy ever more sustainable and environmentally-friendly – and they are all keen to speak about what they are doing and what needs to be done.

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Angela talks about the importance of breeding, producing a cow that lives longer, produces greater quantities of better-quality milk and has beef characteristics – a valuable animal that enables Irish farmers to do more with the same, reducing the carbon hoofprint of each litre of milk delivered.
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Nicholas tells us that we should be proud of Irish dairy and about the country’s already highly sustainable production system, whether we eat it or not, and he marvels at why we’d cut the Irish herd only to increase global emissions by producing elsewhere.
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Louise is a real advocate for farmers and farming – she’s heavily involved in the more political side of farming and is a strong champion for women in farming, for young farmers and for social media as the best way to connect. She loves cutting silage and she hates fencing.
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Shane’s a young farmer who believes, rightly, that young people are going to be most affected by the sustainability decisions that are made today. Therefore, he says, young farmers should have a say in policy, as it affects dairying, and have some influence in how the industry goes about achieving its goals.
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Olivia’s 12 years old and (when she’s not at school) works hard with her mum Miriam on the family farm in Co Roscommon. She tells us about her relationship with the cows and how Haribos and mini-marshmallows play an important part.
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Miriam, farmer and mum of four, believes that Women in Dairy is about recognition – her grandmother worked on the farm but would never have considered herself a farmer. “It’s about women standing up and saying, hold on, we’re doing this too, and being acknowledged for it.” She’s also keen to see country kids being encouraged to participate in dairying and to be proud to be part of it.
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As Nicole herself says, she’s a bit of a part-time farmer on her grandparents’ farm in Co Cork – but that’s because she’s working on her PhD during the week at college in Waterford. Nicole’s area of study is reducing antibiotic usage in the dairy herd by investigating alternatives, which will have the benefit of preserving high-strength antibiotics for human use, rather than veterinary use. Another angle on dairy sustainability.
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“The cow is in charge of everything she does – she has to come to the robot, it’s a simple as that.” Niall talks about his move to the robotic milking system, better for him, better for his family who work with him but, above all, better for the cow. The robotic system monitors cow health and milk quality, and enables Niall to manage his pastures to ensure the best grass for his animals.
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Cathal points out that change in farming – particularly change in environmental impact – takes time. Breeding initiatives, pasture management, implementation of new tech and new environmental imperatives all take time to deliver the results that the industry needs to meet its targets. Yes, we may be behind the curve, but a lot is happening behind the scenes.
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“We look after the cows better than we look after ourselves” – Tom tells us about the care that Irish farmers take with their cows, he talks about Irish dairy being the best in the world and he says that culling the national herd would be a disaster. He also lets us know that, rather than being a farmer, his daughter would like to be a unicorn or a fairy.
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Eamon talks about the impact of tech, about breeding, about planting hedgerows, about how dairy is at the very heart of Irish communities – and about his pride in delivering a premium quality product.

Ireland’s dairy farmers work tirelessly to care for their farms, their animals and the land that they steward. Irish dairy is synonymous with quality and is recognised globally for being produced to the highest standards.

Irish dairy has the most greenhouse gas emissions-efficient production system certainly in Europe and possibly in the world.

Meeting growing international demand for dairy by producing it in Ireland is the best way of tackling the global climate change challenge.

NDC Farmer Ambassadors are spokespeople for Irish dairy and the farming practices that deliver what many people believe to be the best dairy in the world.

They are passionate advocates for:

  • Dairy sustainability
    (including initiatives to reduce environmental impact)
  • Grass-fed dairy production
  • Cow and herd well-being
  • Family farming
  • The future of dairy farming in Ireland
  • Dairy products

NDC Farmer Ambassadors are available for interview and for comment – contact Cathy Curran, Communications Manager, NDC M: +353 86 877 7664    T: +353 1 290 2451 or Jeremy Probert, 4TC, M: +353 89 700 0792