Farmers Shane and Dermot O’Loughlin from Monasterevin with some of the judges
Farmers Shane and Dermot O’Loughlin from Monasterevin took home the top award for Large Herd in the Dairy category at this week’s Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards, held at The Heritage Hotel, Killenard on December 12.
The O’Loughlins have 190 spring calving cows and 50 autumn calvers. The judges were impressed with the attention to detail on their large farm. Shane, who is a council member of Glanbia, is a great supporter of research and hosts veterinary trials carried out by UCD on breeding and calf rearing. He is a council member of Glanbia and also participates in the Fresh Milk Producers group (FMP). The judges found that this openness to shared learning on the O’Loughlin’s farm had positively contributed to improvements in key sustainability areas including welfare, nutrient management and efficiency.
The O’Loughlins were one of 11 category winners as Bord Bia honoured Ireland's most sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly family farms. Over 240 farmers and senior representatives from farming organisations and the agri-food industry gathered to celebrate the achievements of the finalists, drawn from the dairy, beef and horticulture sectors across the country.
In total, 39 finalists competed for the prestigious awards following a rigorous process that included on-farm judging by teams from Bord Bia, Teagasc, the Irish Farmers Journal, UCD and IT Blanchardstown.
Opening the awards ceremony Bord Bia's Chairperson Dan MacSweeney highlighted the importance of sustainable food production to the future of Irish farming and rural economies: “In addition to supporting on-farm sustainability efforts, Origin Green supports our marketing and sales efforts, playing a key role in helping us meet the ambitious targets of Food Wise 2025, which see our food and drink exports grow to €19 billion annually by the middle of the next decade.
This isn’t just a win for industry, it translates into more value coming back to the rural economy right across Ireland, as growth in sustainably produced food and drink delivers jobs and activity to local communities now and in the future.”
Presenting the awards Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy paid tribute to the achievements of all the finalists: “The pursuit of excellence by Origin Green farmers is at the heart of the Irish food and drink industry’s export success in a challenging consumer-driven trading environment."
All finalists will be invited by Bord Bia to participate in an organised visit to an overseas market to see how the organisation uses their achievements in sustainability to win new business.