In the second installment of our NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2022 series, in partnership with the National Dairy Council, Kerrygold and Ornuawe meet three more farming families who made it to the finals of these prestigious annual awards.
This time we present a farm in the south of the country, one in the west and one in the middle east.
Eoin Egan lives in Aulane, Abbeydourney, Co. Kerry, with his wife Siobhán, two small children, Ruairí and Síne, and his parents, Frank and Mary.
Eoin, Frank and Mary work in a registered partnership with three companies, with the Egans cultivating the land since the early 1800s.
Together they milk 107 cows and supply 659.288L to Kerry Agribusiness. The milk supplied has a total plate count (TBC) of 5,000, a somatic cell count (SCC) of 91 and contains 3.60% protein and 4.11% butterfat.
Eoin has been farming with his parents for as long as he can remember. He always showed a huge interest in the farm and spent as much time as possible learning the tricks of the trade from his father.
Frank took over the farm full time at age 19 and clearly remembers going to school by bus at age 14 and longing to join the farmers he passed every morning.
Frank and Eoin have a keen interest in keeping abreast of modern science and technologies and are always looking for ways to continuously improve the processes they have on the farm.
“If you don’t drive further and don’t move with the times, you will be left behind in the past,” they agreed.
Father-and-daughter duo Tony and Jessie Hawkes farm together in Keel, Innishannon, Co. cork. Also present at the farm is Tony’s wife, Ita, and other children, Lucy, Mary Anne and Connie.
Jessie will be the seventh generation to work the land. She completed a pharmaceutical course at the Cork Institute of Technology, though halfway through she realized that her heart really belonged on the farm.
She has now obtained her green certificate and has completed a best milking practice course.
The herd milks 142 cows and supplies 878,222L to Bandon Co-op. The milk has a TBC of 7,000, a VCA of 90 and contains 4.08% butterfat and 3.49% protein.
The Hawkes team wants to make sure the farm is as sustainable as possible and takes pride in the farm’s landscape with hedges, wildlife and a ring fort.
“Farmers are caretakers of the land, caretakers of the environment,” they said.
Another father-and-child duo, Michael and Gerard Heery, farm in Hammondstown, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath. Gerard is a fourth generation farmer, his father is a first generation dairy farmer.
Also on the farm are Gerard’s wife, Geraldine, and his mother, Brigid. It is a family business, in which Gerard’s brothers and nephew are involved when necessary.
Michael has always been open to improvements and changes and was always willing to try new ideas.
The family milks 93 cows and supplies 575,185L to Glanbia Ireland. The milk has a TBC of 4,000, a VCA of 112 and contains 4.55% butterfat and 3.71% protein.
The whole family is a true outdoor enthusiast and deeply involved in the local community. Michael founded the local athletics club, of which many well-known Irish sportsmen and women were former members.
Geraldine, an avid cyclist, previously represented Ireland in France and has completed the Tour de France Femmes.
The family ethos of working hard in everything you do in life is really evident.
“You won’t earn anything if you don’t work hard,” they said.
Tune Agriland throughout the week as we bring you more family farms chosen as finalists for the NDC Kerrygold Milk Quality Awards 2022.
And for more information about the awards, click here.