Cumbrian farmer and 'stalwart of dairy' given lifetime award

Geoff Bone was presented with the highly acclaimed award at the UK Borderway Dairy Expo
Geoff Bone was presented with the highly acclaimed award at the UK Borderway Dairy Expo

Cumbrian dairy farmer Geoff Bone has been presented the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to the dairy industry.

The 'stalwart of the industry' was presented with the highly acclaimed award at the UK Borderway Dairy Expo on Saturday 16 March.

The accolade was established in 2013, in memory of well-known farmer John Dennison, with the aim to recognise a dairy cattle breeder who is judged to be an exemplary role model in the industry.

Geoff Bone was hailed for his 'unwavering dedication, remarkable contributions, and infectious passion' for the Holstein breed.

In 1997, he joined the Holstein UK classification team, where his expertise have been instrumental for the past 27 years.

On announcing this year’s winner, Harrison & Hetherington’s pedigree dairy auctioneer, Glyn Lucas said: “We received several nominations for Geoff, making it hard to ignore him as the perfect candidate.

"In good days and bad Geoff is always a constant, his character and personality and chirpy way is his trademark.

"It gives me great pleasure to award Geoff, one of the most popular and respected guys in the dairy business, the 2024 John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Born in the village of Berkermet, Cumbria, Geoff began his career in the dairy industry helping his father, a skilled herdsman, managing top herds of his time, including John Jordan’s Primsland herd.

Geoff's first job after learning all he could from his father was managing the Newroddige Herd for the Mallaber family, and then moving onto the Hallwood Herd.

It was in 1977 that Geoff’s career took a significant turn when the Hallwood herd was acquired by the emerging breeder Alan Swale, owner of the Joylan herd.

This marked the beginning of a formidable partnership, where Geoff's exceptional cow skills combined with Alan’s drive led to two decades of unprecedented success.

The duo clinched numerous accolades, including victories at the prestigious Royal Shows with cows like Ensdon Helen and Arlene.

Geoff also managed show-winning cows such as Joylan Enhancer Anna, who claimed the Grand Champion title at the European Dairy Event in 1994.

His prowess extended beyond the show ring to cattle sales, where he played a pivotal role in the success of the Joylan business.

Notable highlights include the sale of Joyal Miss America 9, which fetched a remarkable 24,000gns at the Joylan Evening Sale in 1989.

As well as his job with Holstein UK, Geoff has been an enthusiastic part of the Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) movement.

On receiving the prestigious accolade, he said: “This is a terrific industry award and I feel supremely humbled to be honoured by the Dennison family today here at Dairy Expo."