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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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Dairy Farmer Enda Walsh studied Dairy Business at University College Dublin, and now farms alongside his father Henry and mother Patricia.
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James Flaherty’s family have farmed here since 1850, and James is the next generation to carry on the farming tradition.
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Gearoid Maher farms in partnership with his wife Sarah and his two daughters, and they milk 110 pedigree British Friesian cows on 200 acres
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Caroline Hanrahan and her husband Ger own and operate one of the 17,500 family-run farms in Ireland, producing milk and other milk products with their 350 strong dairy cows.
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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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Eamon Sheehan is a dairy farmer in Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny, farming 180 acres alongside his wife and their 3 children
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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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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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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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“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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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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“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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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.

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 milk has the lowest carbon footprint – at 0.97kg CO2 eq per litre of fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM) – of almost any milk produced anywhere in the world.

Projections estimate relatively sustained global demand for EU dairy produce to at least 2031. One way of minimising the climate impact of meeting the world’s demand for dairy is to produce as much of it as possible in Ireland, the country with the lowest milk carbon footprint, litre for litre, of almost any milk produced anywhere.

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