Offaly Farmers win Origin Green Farmer Award for Dairy

Mairead and Pat McLoughlin from Rath took home the top award for Small/Medium Herd in the Dairy category at this week’s Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards, held at The Heritage Hotel, Killenard on 12th December.

The McLoughlins milk 56 cows currently with plans to increase this number to 66. The couple are new entrants to dairying having taken over from Mairead’s father, Michael Gleeson, in 2014. The judges found that thanks to their dedication to measuring performance on-farm they have achieved excellent farm sustainability. The importance of animal health and welfare also stood out for the judges.

Offaly Farmers win Origin Green Farmer Award for Dairy

Mairead and Pat McLoughlin

The McLoughlins 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. 

Bord Bia highlights these family farms to food buyers who are looking for living examples of the highest values in Irish food production.  When they visit these farms they see the commitment to protecting the land and its environment for future generations of food producers and consumers.

Tonight’s finalists are producing beef with a 40% lower carbon footprint than the average producer and producing milk with a 16% lower carbon impact.  These are the solid proof points that impress international customers who are seeking solutions to their consumers’ demands for more sustainably produced food.  It is from this foundation that we can build durable relationships with food buyers for the food we export.”

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.

About Origin Green

Origin Green is a unique sustainability programme developed by Bord Bia to demonstrate the commitment of the entire Irish food and drink industry to operating sustainably – in terms of greenhouse gas emission, energy conservation, water management, biodiversity, community initiatives and health and nutrition. Since 2012, more than 580 Irish companies, representing 90 per cent of Irish exports have signed up, while at farm level, Bord Bia has conducted in excess of over 120,000 carbon assessments to measure and help improve the environmental performance of Irish farms.

Category Winners:

Dairy

Reduced carbon footprint

The Crowley Family (Trevor Crowley)

Dairygold co-op

Lissarda, Co. Cork

Small/med herd (herds from 45-80 cows)

Mairead and Pat McLoughlin

Lakeland Co-op

Rath, Co. Offaly

Large herd (herds of 100+ cows)

Shane and Dermot O’Loughlin

Glanbia co-op

Oghill, Co. Kildare

Horticulture

Mushrooms

Reilly Mushrooms

Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Protected crops and fruit

Flynn’s Tomatoes

Bealinstown, Swords, Co. Dublin

Potatoes

Kilmore Potatoes (Chris and John Fortune)

Ballyhealy, Kilmore, Co. Wexford

Field vegetables

John B Dockrell

Screen, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

Beef

Suckler to beef

Noel Farrell

Golden, Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Suckler to weanling/store production

Nicholas Bergin

Roscrea, Co. Tipperary

Weanling/store to beef production

David Auchmuty

Ballygalda, Co. Roscommon

Dairy calf to beef production

Derek and Gareth Peoples

Carrigans, Co. Donegal

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