Details of the 2019 conference will be announced soon.

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



Building on the resounding success of the 2017 CONFERENCE, the annual Women in Dairy Conference 2018 welcomed an exciting and diverse line-up of speakers from across the industry speaking on the theme 'Breaking Barriers'.

Held on 19 September at Sixways Stadium, Worcester, the conference welcomed 150 delegates who heard positive messages and practical take-home advice that can be implemented on-farm.

A selection of the presentations are now available to download, please scroll down to the programme below.

The conference featured the presentation of the Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award. This year two winners were announced: Ceri Cryer as a regional winner and Janette Prince as a national winner. Read more about the award and the conference here.




10:00am – Registration (with refreshments and networking)

10:20am – Welcome Address - Frances Howell, HSBC

10:40am – Barriers to Break & Bridges to Build – Minette Batters, President, NFU

11:10am – The Power of Mentoring & NetworkingCharlotte Hall, AB Vista & Anna Dinsdale, Premier Nutrition

11:40am – Coffee break

12:00pm – From City to Contract Farming – Liz Haines, Farmer & Farmers' Weekly columnist

12:30pm – Protect your farm; Protect your bottom line – Helen Rogers, Friars Moor Vets & Ailsa Milnes, Boehringer Ingelheim

1:10pm – Lunch

2:00pm - Developing purposeful focus - Holly Beckett, Focussed Farmers

3:00pm – Presentation of the Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award

3:30pm – Close

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

Conference Speakers


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Minette runs a tenanted family farm in Wiltshire. The mixed farming business includes a 100 cow continental cross suckler herd, and a small herd of pedigree Herefords as well as sheep and arable. Diversification includes the conversion of a 17th Century tythe barn into a wedding and corporate events venue, and horse liveries.

Minette co-founded the campaigning initiatives 'Ladies in Beef' and the 'Great British Beef Week'.

She has been an NFU member from grassroots through to County Chairman; she served as Wiltshire’s Council delegate and also as Regional Board Chairman for the South West. Minette has also been a member of NFU Governance Board and served as NFU deputy president for four years from 2014 to 2018. 

Minette will be speaking on the implications of Brexit for the UK dairy industry, and specifically what are the barriers that we as an industry will need to break just a few short months after the conference takes place.



Charlotte has worked for  AB Agri since 2011 although has more recently moved in to a role in the GB & Ireland team as GB Sales and Marketing Manager within AB Vista where she has been for the past two years. Her current role involves account management for various compound feed mills, premix companies and nutrition businesses, she is also responsible for managing and executing the GB & Ireland marketing strategy.

Anna joined AB Agri in September 2012. More recently Anna moved in to her current role as a Commercial Nutritionist where has worked for three and a half years, working solely with ruminants. The majority of Anna’s time is spent working with feed mills and farms that are involved in dairy. Recently she has been working with customers developing cow rations, providing on farm advice in nutrition, cow comfort and management.

Charlotte and Anna, along with Charlotte Mintern HR Director at AB Vista will share their stories on how peer mentoring has helped them throughout their career in agriculture. They will also demonstrate the importance of building a successful network.




Liz Haines is in a Contract Farming arrangement with her husband Nick on the Hardwick Estate in Shropshire. They milk 320 Spring block calving cows.

Liz never thought she would become a farmer – she graduated from Oxford in 2009 with a degree in English Literature and moved to London to start a career in the publishing industry.

After spending time in New Zealand with Nick, Liz realised that city life would never give them the future they wanted, and in 2011 they moved to Dorset where Nick managed a 700-cow mobile milking setup. Liz started an evening course in Farm Records and accounts, learned to milk and rear calves, and together they bought youngstock which they reared and leased back to Nick’s employers. The capital they built up enabled them to enter their current Contract Farming arrangement in 2014.

Liz still enjoys occasional weekends in the city and writes a column for Farmers’ Weekly.

Liz will discuss how and why she went from city publishing executive to dairy farmer, despite having almost no farming background and limited capital to invest, and why contract farming is a great way for new entrants to get a foot on the dairy business ladder. 




Helen qualified as a vet in 2006.  She is a Director at Friars Moor Vets, and works with an amazing team of seventeen vets and paraprofessionals, delivering high quality farm animal veterinary medicine to Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. 

Her other job is within the management team of Longmoor Farm, alongside her husband and father-in-law, Stuart and Colin Rogers.  The farm milks 250 high yielding, pedigree Holsteins, in an AYR calving system.  This latter role, provides endless opportunities to experience the practical implications of her veterinary advice and in particular the importance of biosecurity as a tool to maximise farm productivity.

Using practical examples from her work within the agricultural industry, Helen will discuss why biosecurity can no longer be dismissed as an extra burden on farm resources.




Ailsa is a veterinary surgeon and currently works as a ruminant technical advisor for Boehringer-Ingelheim Animal Health. Ailsa has had a varied veterinary career which has revolved around the livestock production sector. This has involved working in practice, within the Veterinary Laboratories Agency which is now part of APHA and within academia where she completed a PhD with a focus on Epidemiology.

Ailsa tries to juggle her busy work life with being a mum to three teenagers.



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Holly Beckett is the fourth generation of a farming family in the West Midlands, with a long history of diversification including dairy, beef, sheep and egg production.  They now farm 1200 acres of arable land alongside running a farm shop, restaurant, cookery school and conference facilities.

Holly undertook a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 2015 looking at practical applications that can be introduced for business growth through the development of people. She gained sponsorship in 2016, from The Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust, to pilot the introduction of mindfulness to agriculture. Through her study, she found this training had been heavily undertaken within the corporate industry, with results which improved productivity, reduced accident rates, better managed stress and enhanced overall well-being within employees. 

Focussed Farmers was launched in 2017 to measure the effects on farmers and ag-sector workers completing a programme of mindfulness and meditation, coupled with goal setting and the current study is providing some remarkable results.

Holly will be talking about her research and giving tips and tools to take away and implement to improve your own wellbeing both at work and at home.


Frances Howell, Managing Director and Head of Corporate Banking, Midlands Region, HSBC


Frances was raised on the Island of Bute, Scotland, before attending Aberdeen University and graduating with a MA Hons in Economics with Accountancy.

She joined Midland Montagu / HSBC Group from University in 1988 and has spent 30 years in financial services.  During her career Frances has been based in numerous locations in the UK and overseas including Hong Kong and Sydney and has worked in a variety of roles including Digital Banking, Trade Services, Commercial Banking and Global Liquidity and Cash Management.  

In her current role, Frances is responsible for supporting Mid-Market Corporate businesses throughout the region to achieve their ambitions by providing tailored domestic and Cross-border growth solutions.

Frances is a keen supporter of agile working, shared parental leave and supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace.  She sits on HSBC UK’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee and is the business sponsor for Disability.



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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.


Chosen Charity


February 12, 2018 saw the start of ‘Mind Your Head’ the brand new campaign from the Farm Safety Foundation, focusing on mental wellbeing in the farming industry.

Whilst UK farmers are renowned for the attention they give to their livestock, crops and machinery, it appears they do not have such a good track record when it comes to taking care of themselves and their own wellbeing.

Levels of depression in the industry are thought to be increasing and suicide rates in agricultural workers are among the highest in any occupational group (ONS). In an industry with the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK, stress is often a key factor in many of the accidents, injuries and illnesses taking place on farms. Stress is something that many farmers face at some point and is an important contributor to mental health problems. It can come from many sources such as financial pressures resulting from market fluctuations, livestock disease or poor harvests, but concerns about Brexit, policies, administration and legislation can also take their toll.

The situation is compounded by the fact that farming tends to be an innately conservative culture and some still perceive a stigma attached to mental health. This can hinder people’s willingness to speak about the issue and to seek help for themselves.

This brand new campaign aims to encourage farmers and farming families not to neglect themselves, but to put themselves first, ‘open up’ and get some help and advice on whatever concerns they have.

To learn more or donate please visit www.yellowwellies.org


Thank you to all our sponsors: