Farms in Down, Tyrone, Armagh, Antrim and Fermanagh have won awards for producing the highest quality milk.

The Milk Quality Awards are public recognition of the achievements of Lakeland Dairies’ milk suppliers who are committed to quality in all aspects of their milk production.

Winning a milk quality award is a truly excellent achievement. The winners emerged from among 3,200 farm families across 16 counties (north and south) who produce milk for the 2bn litres Lakeland Dairies milk pool.

The awards were presented by Lakeland Dairies Chairman Niall Matthews, Vice-Chairman Keith Agnew and Group Chief Executive Michael Hanley.

In Northern Ireland the winners were;

More than 1m Litre Category Winners - John Morrow and Scott Davidson, Gilnahirk, Co. Down; Highly commended runners-up - Fred and David Liggett, Stewartstown, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.

Less than 1m Litre Category Winners - William and Robert McCrum, Markethill, Co. Armagh; Harry, Lex and Alastair Campbell, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.

Best New Entrants(over 350 new milk producers joined the co-operative in recent years); - Kevin and John McDonnell, Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh.

Lakeland Dairies Chairman, Niall Matthews paid tribute to the award winners: “Dairy farmers produce the 2 billion litres of wholesome milk that we use to create a diverse range of dairy products for our customers worldwide. Dairy farming crosses the generations, creating a livelihood for families while contributing to rural economic development and environmental sustainability. We are proud of the high quality of our milk pool as exemplified by the winners of the Lakeland Dairies milk quality awards. I congratulate all of our dairy farmers for their achievements and for their excellent ongoing contribution to our farmer owned dairy co-operative.”

Lakeland Dairies Group CEO Michael Hanley said: “The population of the world relies on the quality and integrity of the global food supply chain from farm to fork. This demand continues to grow and dairy provides the solution. Quality and sustainability are the building blocks of our entire business and this underpins the trust that our customers and consumers place in us. The milk producers of Lakeland Dairies have always met this responsibility with great dedication. I’m delighted to pay tribute to their achievements as we recognise our milk quality award winners.”

Michael Hanley added, “Despite higher costs, those farmers who have continued to spread fertiliser and to feed cows as normal, are being handsomely and profitably rewarded with the record high milk prices throughout this year.”

In the Republic of Ireland, the Supreme Champions of the Lakeland Dairies Milk Quality Awards (north and south) were named as William and Alan Nicholson, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, for the exceptionally high quality of milk produced on their farm throughout the past year.