Irish dairy’s best recognised at the National Dairy Awards

Seventeen awards were presented at the annual event
calendar icon 20 June 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

Vicky Kelleher, dairy farm manager in Cork was the standout winner claiming the Overall National Dairy while also scooping the Carbery Dairy Farm Manager of the year gong on Thursday night, according to a press release from the National Dairy Awards. The black tie gala in the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise hosted Ireland’s best and brightest in the dairy industry. Former Minister and broadcaster, Ivan Yates served as MC for the night.

Other notable winners on the night included Jason Hawkins who picked up the Agri Insider Dairy Leader of the year award for his contribution to the dairy industry over the last 25 years while Dairygold picked up the Business Post Best Dairy Producer/Co-op of the year award.

Kelleher is in her 20th year working on Laharn dairy farm. Her contribution to animals and food production has been immense and her willingness to learn and embrace new technology is extraordinary according to Ger Buckley of Laharn Dairy Farm. The award gives much deserved credit to dairy farm managers who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, management and innovation in the daily operations of their farm, driving productivity and profitability. Judges were particularly impressed by herd welfare on the farm.

"She is in her 20th year working on this farm. For a woman to perform in a mainly male dominated occupation would be a Phenomenal feat, but doing the work of two labour units, is truly unique," said Ger Buckley owner of Laharn Farm. "The words to describe her would be empathy, first for the cows, dogs and the pet lambs she rears for her brother. but also to the members our family and staff. If animals were to chose a winner of this award she would be a clear first. She is always the last to eat and will always make sure every other animal or person is looked after before herself. She is usually surrendered by an entourage of dogs and pet lambs. Other words to describe her are dedicated, committed and relentless, In nearly 20 years she has never missed a day or even turned up late. Every spring and autumn she goes out late in all weathers to bring animals into the comfort of a dry bed . Her contribution to animals and food production has been immense and her willingness to learn and embrace new technology is extraordinary. She represents the many who work when no one is watching."

Dairygold is renowned for its milk quality and traceability. The co-operative remains focused on producing cheese and dairy ingredients that can be traced from grass fed cows. Michael Nolan, chairman of Business Post Events presented the award on the night. 

“Dairygold are showing a clear track record of driving sustainability in processing, and in supporting farmers in their own sustainability journey, with a plan to secure long term increased value to farmers by improving their global reach in added value nutrition," he said.

Jason Hawkins who was presented the Agri Insider Dairy Leader of the year award started his Carbery journey in 2018, leading the company through Brexit, Covid 19, supply chain issues and geopolitical upheaval as well as helping farmers to protect and enhance biodiversity and climate efforts on their farms. Notable achievements include the world leading Farm Zero C project.

Seventeen awards were presented on the night at the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise, celebrating the high achievers that continue to develop and strengthen the Irish dairy industry. Vicky Kelleher received Overall National Dairy Award and Carbery Dairy Farm Manager of the year awards from Ivan Yates and Cormac O’Keeffe, Chairman of Carbery Group respectively.

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