Just outside Two-Mile Borris, a village distinguished by an impressive Norman tower house, Jimmy Cummins and his son Kieran continue a livelihood defined by tradition and innovation, producing winter milk from their Friesian dairy herd.
Following an Agricultural Sciences degree in Dublin and an apprenticeship in New Zealand, Kieran has returned to the farm he was raised on and will eventually take over from his dad – the fifth generation of his family to do so. “There was never any doubt in my mind that after college I’d come home to work the family farm – you could say I was born to do it”.
The twin challenges of environmental protection and financially sustainable farming will define Keiran’s generation and those that follow – and the pair have seized the opportunity to gain non-GMO accreditation, becoming Tipperary Fresh milk suppliers.
They’re excited about future innovations in dairy and see Tipperary Fresh as a natural first step. By using Centenary non-GMO animal feed to supplement their cows diet, they’re supporting local growers and processors – and the innovative recyclable packaging also means Tipperary Fresh is giving conscious consumers more choice.
Thomas Dwan and his family have been supplying milk to our dairy from their farm in Thurles Co. Tipperary for decades. Maintaining the standards set out by his father, and grandfather before that, is a promise he takes seriously – leading to recognition on the highest stage for excellence in dairy farming when they won the National Dairy Council & Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards 2015.
With a firm focus on world-class quality and innovation, and to help ensure a thriving, sustainable industry for generations to come, the Dwan’s were excited about the development of Tipperary Fresh.
‘Irish grass is naturally non-GMO and we would say Tipperary grass is amongst the best in the country. It makes sense to further enhance the milk we produce by using homegrown animal feeds. Crops are grown locally, processed locally at the mill and delivered back to local farmers in the co-op – so everyone is working together to produce the best milk possible.
We all have to think about our environmental impact, food miles and the carbon footprint of our milk, including what goes into the feed. If I can also give Irish consumers the opportunity to buy quality homegrown milk – that is a great thing to be a part of.’
GMO is a genetically modified organism (including plants, animals and microorganism) whose genetic makeup has been altered by genetic engineering or transgenic technology. There are several GM crops that are grown intensively in North and South America. We ensure the elimination of these crops from our cows diet.
Removing intensively grown soya is an important stance against the devastation of wildlife and biodiversity in vulnerable areas such as the Amazon rainforest.
High protein crops like field beans and rapeseed are perfectly suited to Irish conditions and have been grown on our farms in Co. Tipperary for generations. In 2019 Tipperary Fresh gained Foodchain ID non-GMO certification, enabling the production of non-GMO animal feed through our 100% managed supply chain.
At Centenary Agri Animal Feed Mill in Ballyduff, the local harvest is enriched with minerals and vitamins that are essential to animal health, to produce a range of non-GMO feeds. All ingredients that are not provided by certified members of the Tipperary farmer’s co-operative are sourced from verified non-GMO farmers mostly in Europe.
Apart from limiting the dependency on ingredients coming from around the world – and the associated pollution and transport emissions – the removal of soya products is an important stance against the devastation of wildlife and biodiversity in vulnerable areas such as the Amazon rainforest.
Home grown non-GMO crops bring an abundance of benefits (not least to the consumer of Tipperary Fresh Milk) – providing a natural habitat for bees, improving soil health and biodiversity. For our farmers it is also about ensuring that the livelihood they and their family have enjoyed for generations can be enjoyed for many more.
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Ear to the Ground