9:30am           Registration (with refreshments and networking)

10:00am         Welcome address – Gill Newman, Deputy Regional Director North for Corporate Banking, HSBC UK

10:10am         In control of your own destiny - Gemma Smale-Rowland, 4th generation dairy farmer, Cornwall

10:50am         Creating the future of Dairy - Graham Wilkinson, Senior Director - Agriculture, Arla Foods

11:30am         Coffee break

11:50am         Knowledge Exchange and Business (Succession) Planning to Enhance Your Resilience - Beth Dooley, University of Exeter

12:20pm        The positive power of social media - Dr Jude Capper, Livestock Sustainability Consultancy, Dairy Industry Woman of the Year 2017

 12:50pm        Lunch

 1:45pm          Presentation of the Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award

2:30pm           Small changes, big impact. Why I am optimistic about eradicating bTB - Sarah Tomlinson, Westpoint Farm Vets Ashbourne 

 3:00pm          Calf health – reduce disease, reduce antibiotics and improve your efficiency - Dr Ailsa Milnes, Veterinary Adviser, Boehringer Ingelheim

 3:30pm           Close

Chaired by Di Wastenage, Patron of Women in Dairy and Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year 2015



Women in Dairy Members - 25% discount using your membership number (Become a Member now to receive a discount on your conference ticket, invitations to your local Women in Dairy Group, a free ticket to Dairy-Tech and more)

General Admission - £55 (+VAT and booking fee)

Principal sponsor




Media Partner

BI logo 1.jpg
B.DAIRYING colour.jpg

conference Sponsors

If you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, please contact Emily Egan emilyegan@rabdf.co.uk or 02476 639317


Conference Speakers


Gill Newman, Deputy Regional Director North for Corporate Banking, HSBC UK


Based in Manchester, Gill Newman is the Deputy Head of Corporate Banking for the North Region, including Scotland and Northern Ireland

Gill is originally from the Ribble Valley in Lancashire where she grew up on the family dairy farm and remained close to home to complete her studies before embarking on a career in Banking.

She joined Midland Bank / HSBC Group directly after A levels in 1986 and completed her Honours Degree in Financial Services during her early career. Gill has spent over 30 years in financial services and has had a wide and varied career having been based in numerous locations in the UK and overseas including Hong Kong, Dubai, Toronto and Jersey CI undertaking a variety of roles including Marketing, Learning and Development, Retail Banking, Commercial Banking and Chief Operating Officer.

In her current role, Gill is responsible for supporting mid-market corporate businesses and agricultural businesses throughout the region to achieve their growth ambitions, both domestically and internationally.

Personally, Gill is a busy mum to Charlie (12) and Max (9) who was born in Hong Kong so this is the first UK living experience for the family –   personal time is devoted to making memories with her boys and husband Jason, travelling as much as possible, following Blackburn Rovers FC and reading – not all supported by the entire family!


Gemma Smale-Rowland, 4th generation dairy farmer, Cornwall


Building her own dairy herd is something Gemma dreamt of from a young age.  After much hard work and support from her family this is now a reality.  In February 2019 she created a new business ‘Cornish Moo’ – an on-farm vending machine which not only allows the public to buy the highest quality milk but helps them engage with where their milk comes from.

Despite the challenges facing the dairy industry Gemma continues to educate herself, push boundaries and constantly makes it her mission to connect, share and inspire others to change the perception of the sector for the next generation. 

Despite her involvement with commercial farming Gemma still makes time to actively contribute to policy development and sits on a number of boards including the National Dairy Board and Red Tractor TAC Board.  She has previously held roles on the Dairy Crest Forum Board and is a past Worshipful Company of Farmers Scholar and RABDF Entrepreneurs in Dairying graduate. 

Alongside this Gemma actively drives farm safety campaigns such as #buckleupforiceman and organises meetings at her farm to provide local farmers a chance to address key issues with their local MP and farming organisations such as the NFU.


Graham Wilkinson, Senior Director - Agriculture, Arla Foods

Graham Wilkinson picture.jpg

Graham is an experienced Agriculturalist with a deep knowledge of best practice agricultural production methods – particularly across the Dairy, Beef, Pork & Poultry sectors – underpinned by practical experience gained working on the family farm, for Tesco and Arla.

Born into a 3rd generation family dairy farm in the North East of England, Graham studied Agriculture before managing a dairy herd and then joining Arla in 2003.

Graham joined Tesco in 2011 as Agriculture Manager, during his time, Graham was integral to the implementation of Tesco’s Sustainable farming groups within their MFPE category before moving across to the Dairy category.

In 2015 Graham re-joined Arla as Senior Director Member Relations. Graham’s responsibility includes leading Arla’s customer relationships through developing aligned sustainable Agricultural programmes including Arla UK 360 and the Arla Farm resilience programme (R500). Ensuring a high level of support to Arla’s cooperative members through the Agricultural field based and office support functions. Delivering Arla’s business needs with regard to raw milk volume, types and quality as well as Arlagården.

In addition to this, Graham is a key member of Arla’s UK Leadership team, Member Relation global Management Team & European Leadership Team member, driving the agenda and execution of strategic and operational initiatives in the UK and across Arla’s key global markets. 


Beth Dooley, University of Exeter


Beth Dooley is a second-year PhD student at the University of Exeter, Centre for Rural Policy Research specialising in rural sociology. Her research explores the role of social learning amongst participants in farmer discussion groups and how it relates to their business decision making in the face of change. Previously, Beth worked on sustainable agricultural policy issues in the EU with Ecologic Institute, an environmental policy think tank in Berlin, Germany. She has also worked extensively on issues surrounding farm transition and succession planning with the International Farm Transition Network and the Beginning Farmer Center of Iowa State University Extension, USA.

Beth is a qualified lawyer in the State of Iowa, admitted to the bar in 2012, where she specialised in Food and Agricultural Law during her Juris Doctorate at Drake University Law School. She also completed a Master of Laws (LL.M.) at the University of Edinburgh in Global Environment and Climate Change Law. Originally from the Heartland of the US, her passion is all things to do with agriculture and the land, those who tend it, how our use impacts the environment as well as how it (e.g., through climate change) impacts our ability to produce food.


Dr Jude Capper, Livestock Sustainability Consultant, Dairy Industry Woman of the Year 2017


Jude L. Capper, Ph.D. is an independent Livestock Sustainability Consultant based in Oxfordshire, UK, who undertook her BSc (Agriculture with Animal Science) and PhD (Ruminant Nutrition and Behaviour) at Harper Adams University College (UK), followed by post-doctoral research at Cornell University (USA) and a faculty position at Washington State University (USA).

Jude's research focuses on modeling the sustainability of livestock production systems, specifically dairy and beef, including quantifying changes made by improving productivity or adopting differing management practices.

Jude’s professional goal is to communicate the importance of factors affecting livestock industry sustainability to enhance the knowledge and understanding of food production stakeholders from the farmer through to the retailer, policy-maker and consumer. She has an active social media presence and spends a considerable amount of time de-bunking some of the more commonly-heard myths relating to livestock production. To this end, she was awarded the Women in Dairy “Dairy Industry Woman of the Year 2017” and the Farmers Guardian “Farming Hero of the Year 2018” awards.


Sarah Tomlinson, Westpoint Farm Vets Ashbourne

Sarah Tomlinson sheep photo_ (002).JPG

Sarah Tomlinson works as a farm vet in Derbyshire, since she graduated in 2001, the last 8 years with Westpoint Farm Vets in Ashbourne.  In 2016 she became a member of the TB Eradication and Advisory Group for England. In 2017 she was part of the technical team that successfully bid for the RDPE funding to run the TB Advisory Service, is one of their advisors and more recently became director of the technical board. In the last year she has been travelling the country talking to farmer groups about bovine TB. The main purpose of the TBAS is to inform famers about TB risk pathways on their own farms, and how to decrease the effects a TB breakdown would have on their business. This includes explaining the science, policies and epidemiology of bovine TB.


Dr Ailsa Milnes, Veterinary Adviser, Boehringer Ingelheim


Dr Ailsa Milnes is a ruminant veterinary adviser for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health and has had a versatile veterinary career. Ailsa spent time in practice before joining the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, which is now part of APHA, developing her skills in pathology, epidemiology and disease investigation. To satisfy her interest in epidemiology, she undertook a PhD at Bristol University before returning to VLA where she became more involved with disease surveillance. Ailsa then joined the pharmaceutical industry as  an adviser in 2014. She firmly believes that prevention is better than cure and that good husbandry and care can go a long way to reducing disease

Boehringer is currently the national sponsor for Women in Dairy and is delighted to be working alongside such a supportive and innovative group, which chimes well with its own vision of value through innovative thinking.


Di Wastenage, Patron of Women in Dairy

Diana Wastenage.jpg

Di Wastenage, ARAgS is a Director of a family farming business based in Devon & Cornwall and along with her husband, their business Wastenage Farms was awarded the Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year 2015.

Di is currently a Council Member of the RABDF, TBEAG and Bicton College. Di is very keen to promote our Industry and see the next generation come into agriculture.

She is passionate about the untapped potential of women in business and the skills, knowledge and experiences that we can bring to the Industry for the future.