Three farmers selected for Dairy Industry Woman of Year Award

Organisers of the event have called the quality of the nominations this year 'exceptional'
Organisers of the event have called the quality of the nominations this year 'exceptional'

The finalists for the Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award which recognises the achievements of women in British dairy have been selected.

The award will be presented at the Women in Dairy Conference, which takes place on 30 September.

This year's finalists include dairy producers Karen Halton, Abi Reader and Hannah Lawrence.

Organisers of the event, the Royal Association of British Dairy Farming (RABDF), have called the quality of the nominations this year 'exceptional'.

Katie Halton worked for 14 years of working in legal recruitment, eventually joining her dairy farmer husband Tom.

Together they rent 550 acres in Congleton, Cheshire and milk their 530 all-year-round calving herd, becoming an AHDB strategic dairy farm in 2018.

Their vision is to be in the top one percent of profitable dairy farms in the country.

They are winners of numerous awards including NMR’s Johnes Control Best Practice Award 2016, Supreme Champion in the 2019 Cheshire County Farming Competition and were finalists in the 2018 RABDF Gold Cup.

Abi Reader is a third-generation dairy farmer working with her parents and uncle on a 750-acre mixed farm in South Wales.

She manages the 200-cow dairy enterprise comprising 100 Holstein Friesians and 100 Dairy Shorthorns.

She is also NFU Cymru Dairy Board Chair and Chair of Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHECS) as well as an Open Farm Sunday host and co-founder of CowsOnTour.

Finally, Hannah Lawrence is a partner in the three-generation family dairy farm in Haverfordwest.

The farm consists of 240 milking cows as well as a flock of 200 commercial Texel and Suffolk crosses.

Hannah has also established her own pedigree Texel flock Preseli View Texels with her partner.

She educates the public about the ins and outs of farming and has an Instagram account with over 1,500 followers.

She hosts live question and answer sessions online and has hosted farm tours attracting over 600 visitors.

Hannah also volunteers for mental health charity DPJ Foundation which is a helpline for farmers.

Women in Dairy Conference organiser Rachel Bowcutt said: “The judging process will be tough with each of the finalists operating different businesses and involved in a range of activities. All are deserving winners.”

This year’s three finalists were chosen by the advisory board and will now face an interview round ahead of the winner announcement next month.