Unique ad­van­tage of grass-based dairy farms

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - FOOD & DRINK IRELAND - Joe Der­mody

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.

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