Quality as an Essential Component of Export Development - NDC Seminar in association with Ornua & Teagasc
“Sustainability is an increasingly important issue in agriculture" John Lynch, Teagasc
“In this increasingly competitive global marketplace, communicating the natural attributes and quality of Irish dairy products has never been more important. Our grass-fed message is our competitive edge and one we need to protect. We must continue to ensure that quality and sustainability are at the heart of everything we do to ensure we meet the needs of global consumers.” said Jeanne Kelly Group Head of Communications at Ornua, opening the NDC Seminar and Farm Walk 2017 held at the Dungarvan Park Hotel.
The seminar was followed by a Teagasc farm walk hosted by Tom and Moya Power, from Drumhills Farm, Cappagh, Co. Waterford who were the overall winners of the 2016 Quality Milk Awards.
The seminar also included a number of presentations from Seán Molloy, Director of Strategy and Supply at Glanbia Ingredients, Dr John Lynch, Post-Doctoral Researcher at Teagasc, and QMA Awards Judge, Dr Jack Kennedy. This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by NDC Vice Chairman John Murphy.
John Lynch of Teagasc said “Sustainability is an increasingly important issue in agriculture. Consumers and businesses are demanding that food is produced sustainably, and there are a number of prominent policy topics in Ireland linked with agricultural sustainability. Sustainability is also an important component of Irish food marketing, and demonstrating the comparative advantages of producing milk in Ireland can be of benefit to the industry and entire supply chain”
John provided an overview of the main aspects of sustainability relevant to Irish milk production, covering economic, environmental and social sustainability, and some of the means by which improvements can be made. He also made reference to some of the sustainability indicator results calculated using the Teagasc National Farm Survey, and how they can be used to highlight progress.
Sean Molloy of Glanbia looked at Quality Underpinning Strategy and said “Achieving the level of excellence in milk quality as demonstrated by the Power family is a critical underpin which allows Glanbia continue to invest in high value dairy ingredient markets. The recognition by the NDC and its partners of the level of excellence in milk production achieved by the Power’s family and the effort to highlight the world leading quality performance of Irish milk supplier sends a very positive signal to both domestic and international dairy buyers as milk production continues to grow in a post quota environment”
Challenging Times Reinforces Need to Reward Best Practices
Speaking on behalf of the national judging panel for the NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards & Dairy Editor of the Irish
Farmer’s Journal, Jack Kennedy said “Times are genuinely very challenging for many Irish dairy farmers at the moment given the impact of global milk pricing. It is all the more reason to highlight and reward those best practices which drive quality standards on the farm,” said Dr. Jack Kennedy,
“We know that we can produce high quality, safe, nutritious foods in Ireland, with the high uptake in the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme also telling us that we can do this in an environmentally sustainable manner. This is also providing important jobs and growth in rural parts of Ireland.”
The Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) is the first national dairy scheme of its kind anywhere in the world. It sets out best practice in Irish dairy farms in animal health and welfare, land management, biosecurity, safe farming practices and the production of safe milk. It also provides a framework for measuring the continuous improvement of each participating farmer, recording and monitoring sustainability credentials at farm level.
Ireland enjoys a strong reputation for quality which Irish dairy enjoys with Irish consumers in the home market, is at the heart of our export success. Buyers of dairy in the global and Irish marketplaces are looking beyond the consistent quality of the product to provenance and sustainability – and these are all areas where Irish dairy farming really shines.
“We are so fortunate in Ireland to have access to nutritious milk and dairy produce supported by a sustainable, grass-based system. The NDC & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards gives us an opportunity to highlight and showcase the excellence of Irish dairy farming. I am very proud to see the 2016 winners, the Power family from Cappagh in Waterford, showcase those high standards by hosting the Teagasc Farm Walk today,” said Zoe Kavanagh, CEO, National Dairy Council.