FARM families in Co. Down and Co. Cavan have been announced as the Lakeland Dairies Supreme Milk Quality Award Winners.
The Milk Quality Awards publicly recognise the achievements of Lakeland Dairies milk suppliers who are committed to quality in all aspects of their milk production.
Winning a milk quality award is a truly excellent achievement. The winners emerged from among 3,200 farm families across 16 counties who produce milk for the 1.85bn Lakeland Dairies milk pool.
For the first time in the history of the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards, joint Supreme Champions of the awards have been announced – one from Northern Ireland and one from the Republic of Ireland.
Stanley and Tanya Graham from Killeshandra, Co. Cavan along with Sean, Shane and Stephanie Sloan from Kilkeel, Co. Down have both been named as Supreme Champion.
The Graham family also took home the less than 500,000 litre producer category in the Republic of Ireland while the Sloan family are winners in the more than 1m litre producer category in Northern Ireland.
Outside of the Supreme Champions, Lakeland Dairies has also announced the winners in the other categories of the Milk Quality Awards.
In the Republic of Ireland, Dermot Sherry from Drumhillock, Co Monaghan is the winner in the more than 500,000 litre producer category.
In Northern Ireland, Cecil and Gordon Wilson from Dromara, Co. Down won the less than 1m litre producer category in Northern Ireland.
Lakeland Dairies continues to pay tribute and recognise the very positive impact new entrants have on the overall business. In the past five years, over 300 new entrants have started supplying milk to Lakeland Dairies.
Ken Whittle from Walsh Island, Co. Offaly has been declared the winner of the Republic of Ireland new entrant category while David Hylands from Limavady wins the Northern Ireland new entrant category.
Lakeland Dairies Chairman Alo Duffy paid tribute to the award winners: “Despite the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic, it is critical to recognise and reward the commitment of our 3,200 farm families to the highest standards of milk production, sustainability, hygiene, animal health and overall care for the environment.
“With Lakeland Dairies exporting high-quality products to some 80 global market, the basis of our exporting success is based on the supreme milk produced inside the farm gate. We continue to recognise the integral aspect of our farmers to the ongoing success of the Lakeland Dairies business.
“Quality is the building block of our entire business and I acknowledge all my farming colleagues for their continued commitment to excellence.”
Lakeland Dairies Group CEO, Michael Hanley said: “The global reputation and success of our business starts with every single litre of milk sent to us for processing and is therefore based on the dedication and hard work of the 3,200 farm families who we are deeply proud to have within our co-operative.
“We are resolute in driving forward our business in the interests of our milk producers and we are delighted to recognise their achievements which are exemplified in the achievements of our Milk Quality Award winners who I wholeheartedly congratulate.
“Our customers place the highest levels of trust in our credentials of sustainability, quality and reliability in meeting their needs for value-added dairy products. We are able to fulfil that commitment based on the excellent endeavours of our dairy farmers. In doing so, we will continue to ensure future long term sustainability for dairy farmers, rural communities and the export led success of our dairy industry.”