Three finalists have beaten off a host of entries to be shortlisted for the prestigious Women in Dairy Award.
The winner will be announced on 28 September at the Women in Dairy Conference at Sixways Stadium, Worcestershire.
The award aims to celebrate the achievements of women in the dairy sector. It will be presented to the individual who has demonstrated the core values of Women in Dairy of connect, share, and inspire.
Sarah Bolt from Kingshay was involved in shortlisting the entries and said the quality of the nominations this year was exceptional. “Each of the finalists is an ambassador for our industry, beating the drum for dairying on a national and local level,” she said.
This year’s three finalists were chosen by the Women in Dairy Steering Committee and will undergo an interview round later this month ahead of the winner being announced.
The finalists are:
1. Gaynor Wellwood
Along with milking 320 cows with her husband Kieran on a tenanted farm in Leicestershire, Gaynor is instrumental in helping other farmers succeed through her Farm Business Consultant role. It’s a job she’s been doing for the past 15 years, advising dairy farmers on business and technical issues. Within this role, she facilitates discussion groups and runs a herdsperson group.
She also has a role as the East Midlands Regional Chair for the Tenant Farmers Association and was appointed Non-Executive Director of Mole Valley Farmers in 2013. Gaynor also chairs the Audit Committee of Mole Valley Farmers. She has previously also been Director and Chairman of the South Hams Dairy Cooperative discussion and buying group.
2. Bex Heywood
25-year-old farmer Bex Heywood has been instrumental in adding value to her family’s farming enterprise in North Devon, where they milk 65 organic cows through a Lely Robot.
When she returned from university in 2019, they realised they would have to expand or add value to what we were already doing.
Just as Lockdown began, they launched their organic milk vending machine (Milk’s Up!) to sell a small percentage of their milk directly from the farm, with the rest going to Arla. Three years later, they now have five smaller machines situated around local campsites and shops for the summer season.
They also host school visits to educate students about dairy farming, from grass to glass. Bex also supports a local group called “Plastic free North Devon”, which aims to reduce the amount of plastics in the sea.
3. Lianne Farrow
Lianne Farrow has come from a non-farming background and, after beginning her farming experience in New Zealand 17 years ago, now heads up the calf rearing at the Downes family farm in Shropshire.
Passionate about dairy farming and genuinely believing in the principles of Women in Dairy of Connect, Share and Inspire, Lianne set up the successful Shropshire Women in Dairy Group. With the help of her colleague Sophie Tedesco, the group has gone from strength to strength.
Lianne’s passion lies in educating the public and the next generation about dairy farming. She is responsible for hosting educational farm tours for schools and their local Beaver Cub Scout groups. The farm has also been put forward for Senior School Development Days, where the farm showcases what it’s like working within the dairy industry. Lianne is also training to become a Teaching Assistant.