Cheshire dairy farmer wins Woman of Year award

Karen Halton has won this year's award, which celebrates the achievements of women in the dairy sector
Karen Halton has won this year's award, which celebrates the achievements of women in the dairy sector

Cheshire dairy farmer Karen Halton has scooped this year's prestigious Dairy Industry Woman of the Year award.

Karen is the fourth woman to win the award, beating two other finalists - Abi Reader from Glamorganshire, and Hannah Lawrence from Haverfordwest.

The award aims to celebrate the achievements of women in the dairy sector and is presented to the individual who has inspired other women.

Karen rents 550 acres at Halton Farms, Congleton with her husband Tom, together milking their 530 three-way cross all-year-round calving herd three times a day.

They also have a raw milk vending machine and, just this year, decided to expand the operation by pasteurising milk and selling it directly to customers.

Starting out in legal recruitment, Karen joined Tom dairy farming 11 years ago and, in that time, has been passionate about showcasing dairy farming.

She is not afraid to share her learnings - good and bad, and as an AHDB strategic farm Halton Farms has regularly opened their doors to those within the industry as well as outside.

Award judge and Women in Dairy Patron, Di Wastenage said Karen was a great all-round industry ambassador who gave a lot to the sector.

“Karen is a passionate advocate for British farming who is an effective communicator at all levels and enjoys mentoring the next generation.

“She is an early adopter who brings new skills into our Industry and is happy to challenge, question, and lead change.

“This year’s competition was the hardest one to judge yet and when you have this calibre of entrants in one competition, we know the future of our dairy industry is in good hands,” added Mrs Wastenage.

The judges which consisted of Mrs Wastenage; HSBC UK’s Regional Agriculture Director Grace O’Dwyer, and Rachel Bowcutt, RABDF Operations and Project Manager, said all three shortlisted candidates are exceptional ambassadors.

This year’s Women in Dairy virtual conference attracted 100 delegates and included sessions on the state of the dairy market, sustainability, animal health, and marketing.