28 October 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A Monaghan man was named as one of Ireland’s ‘greenest’ farmers at an awards’ ceremony in County Laois last week.

Dermot Sherry, a dairy farmer who lives at Drumhillock with his wife Grace and three children, Tadhg (6), Logan (4) and six week old baby Sarah, was presented with the award for the most efficient farmer in the Liquid/Winter Milk Category at Bord Bia’s inaugural Origin Green Sustainable Producer Awards. The awards recognise farmers’ exceptional performance in improving sustainability.

A surprised Mr Sherry was given the accolade last Friday, 21st October, at an event Portlaoise that was attended by over 230 farmers and senior representatives from the farming and agri-food industry.

Speaking about the win to The Northern Standard yesterday, Dermot said: “It felt great. I was surprised to be nominated never mind win. I was going down to make up numbers. But somebody thinks we’re doing something right and that also gives a good image to the consumer.”

His farm was chosen, along with seven other beef and dairy producers, as one of the most sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly farms in the country. It’s a green and efficient route that Dermot says is becoming second-hand nature in farming nowadays.

“It’s like that saying. If you want to be eco-friendly, milk the cow on a stool. If you want to be sustainable, have a proper milking parlour,” Dermot joked.

He supplies LacPatrick Co-Op and uses grass measurement and management to improve productivity on his farm. He milks 118 cows on 70 acres, increasing his cow numbers from 70 in recent years. But Dermot is keen to point out that he has great help in running the family farm.

“My father is a massive part of this operation. It’s got to do with family farms. All those things add in,” said Dermot.

A total of 28 farms from across the country were selected as finalists for the competition, from which eight producers were awarded as winners of their particular category. Over the past few weeks, a panel of judges representing Bord Bia and Teagasc visited each of the 28 shortlisted farms.

“LacPatrick nominated me through their supplier base. Then there was the visual appearance, health and safety, grassland management, slurry utilization, calving-in at 24 months – those were some of the big criteria to meet. But there were 101 in all,” said Dermot. “We were also inspected at the end of August for the way you run things, and cleanliness, and accommodation and housing.”

Overall, the judges were impressed by the farmers’ technical knowledge, clear understanding of sustainability and how each of the finalists have achieved a standard that allows them to maximize production while minimising impact on the environment and other resources. On the dairy side, judges were also highly …

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