Unique advantage of grass-based dairy farms
From the sweeping Irish landscape of pasture-based dairy farms to the diverse range of Irish dairy products, it is no wonder milk and milk products are central to our heritage and a key feature of Ireland’s diet.
Indeed, Ireland is recognised internationally for its high-quality dairy produce and dairy ingredients.
The versatility of dairy foods allows for its uses in main meal dishes; starters and appetisers; snacks; and desserts.
Furthermore, the nutritional contribution of milk, yogurt and cheese to the Irish diet is demonstrated in our national food surveys.
As one spokesperson for the National Dairy Council explained: “We are so very fortunate in Ireland to have access to nutritious milk and dairy produce sup- ported by a sustainable, grass- based system. Irish farming is more than just a business; it is a way of life. Irish farmers learn their craft from their parents and grandparents before them. It is no accident that Irish dairy products are regarded as the best in the world.”
Ireland’s farmers and their families commitment to delivering world class quality milk, day in day out, coupled with the nation’s grass-based farming system has enabled us to build successful markets for dairy products around the world.”
Irish dairy produce has a superb reputation for quality in global markets.
In Ireland, many of us take it for granted that we have countryside with so many fields of grass — but our green countryside is a tremendous asset because the pasture-based model of dairy farming is such a vital ingredient for the success of Irish dairy produce all over the world. Ireland boasts top quality Irish pasture-based dairy farming and produce — from farm to fridge.
It celebrates the flavour and diversity of cooking with Irish dairy produce and highlights the nutritious benefits of milk and dairy produce throughout the different stages of our lives, as part of a healthy, balanced diet. In September 2009, the National Dairy Council introduced a packaging mark giving consumers in the Republic of Ireland the reassurance of knowing that if they buy milk or cream with the NDC Guarantee, it is both farmed and processed locally in the Republic of Ireland.
The NDC Guarantee gives consumers the opportunity to show their support for the 12,415 local jobs on dairy farms and in the dairy sector in an active way, when deciding what milk or cream to buy. Origin and quality are top of mind for consumers in the context of food safety and in light of the heightened awareness of the value of supporting our local economy brought about by the recession.
There is also a growing appreciation for the superb pasture basis for dairy farming which we enjoy, which is a very natural environment for cows.
The NDC said: “Local dairy farming represents a style of sustainable dairy farming that consumers are also increasingly interested in. We are proud to celebrate this natural and delicious dairy product — pure food provenance!”
“In 2016, Irish agri-food and drink exports increased by c.2% to €11.15 billion. The sector accounts for 7.6% of Ireland’s economy-wide GVA, 10.7% of exports and 8.4% of total employment.
Eabha Connaughton of Ardnagrath National School, Walderstown, Athlone, Co Westmeath, the winning senior team in the National Dairy Council’s Moo Crew – Primary Dairy Moovement. Moo Crew is a fun way for children to learn about the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet and the importance of exercise.