The announcement of the first ever Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award winner brought delegates flocking to this year’s Women in Dairy Conference (Wednesday 20 September) making it the most successful yet.
Even though all finalists were worthy it was Dr Jude Capper who was named the winner on the day beating Cornish dairy farmer and NFU group chair Bridget Whell and 2016 Devon county woman farmer of the year Nicky Lockyer to the crown.
Women in Dairy patron Di Wastenage said all of the nominations “were awesome” which made selecting the finalists and the subsequent winner really difficult.
“The three finalists had incredibly varied backgrounds and reasons for nomination but were all equally inspiring. In the end we had to strip the decision back to the original Women in Dairy values of connect, share and inspire to choose the winner.
“The way Jude incorporates these into all aspects of her work is exceptional as is her continual outstanding contribution to the industry.”
Dr Capper said winning the award was totally unexpected and completely overwhelming.
She said: “There are so many people out there doing wonderful things for the industry I don’t know how just one can be chosen.
“This is for all of us out there and all the work we do. Here’s to keeping working together to do brilliant things for our industry” she continued.
Due to the high standard of nominations a special Committee Award was presented to Bridget Whell because of the key role she plays and work she does within Cornwall.
Mrs Whell said that she was still struggling to believe she had even been nominated and that in such a broad industry it was amazing to be included in the final line up and awarded the Committee Award, especially considering the quality of the other nominations.
The award was sponsored by HSBC, also principal sponsor of the day and Andy Hipwell regional agriculture director at HSBC said it was an honour to support an award that recognises the fantastic contribution made by women in the sector.
Themed as ‘Through change comes opportunity’ the conference hosted speakers from the whole supply chain who presented on their own experiences and knowledge through a series of inspiring seminars and workshops.
Key messages focused on the opportunities of a changing industry, the bigger picture of financial planning, economic changes affecting shopping trends, the importance of communication and succession and how to plan a work life balance. Delivered by a first class line up including First Milk’s Shelagh Hancock, Co-op’s Ciara Gorst, HSBC’s Neil Wilson, Sian Bushell, Paul Harris from Real Success and dairy farmer Lucy Muir the audience were left inspired and challenged.