Delegates to hear how industry can break barriers at women in dairy conference

This year’s Women in Dairy conference will see its speaker line up share their views and tips on how to break the barriers posed by the industry in order to have both successful and profitable careers and businesses.

Not from a dairying background?  Don’t have any knowledge of the farming options available to you?  Want to make a career in an industry that is pretty much an unknown?  Don’t have the capital investment required?

These were all questions contract farmer Liz Haines asked herself when she left her city publishing job to embark on a career as a dairy farmer.  People are sure to have many questions surrounding the reason for her decision, but one thing’s for certain, there aren’t many who would guess it was down to the realisation that she could not only have a better lifestyle but also earn more money in farming.

Like many other new entrants to the industry, knowing which route is for you can be hard to determine.  Contract farming isn’t always the first option you’d think of but with less capital investment required it has the potential to offer a whole host of opportunities – such as the potential to start up a bigger business than with many other types of farming agreements.

Having built up their business and worked within the industry for five years Liz admits with more to farming than just manual work the role of women in the sector is more important than ever, especially as farm businesses become larger, as they are able to bring valuable skills and a different perspective to a whole host of business elements – staff and people management, communication and financial and business planning.

Have you taken biosecurity measures seriously or just thought of it as a whole load of extra legislation burden on farms?  The idea of implementing the relevant biosecurity levels on farms has historically been linked with negative feedback from farmers – who insist it puts extra unnecessary pressure on farm resources.

Helen Rogers from Friars Moors Vets will explain that for the future of our industry biosecurity must be regarded as a significant procedure across all farming sectors.  Using practical examples from her role as a vet Helen will demonstrate why farmers’ outlooks on the topic need to be turned around – and how to do it.

For many within the industry the perception surrounding biosecurity needs to change and Helen says the way to do this is all about positive messages and the benefits it has on overall animal health status, which in turn, leads to higher efficiency and subsequently profitability.

Whatever your position and thoughts on the subject the barrier between our sector and the use of biosecurity is looking set to change; the key to this change being the need of farms to tailor their farms biosecurity needs, ensuring maximum payback and protection.

There has been, and continues to be, a stigma around mental health awareness in the farming sector.  With the contributing factor often being stress, Holly Beckett from Focussed Farmers will explain how developing purposeful focus to achieve your goals can alleviate stress and additional burden.

A Nuffield Scholar, Holly will discuss the results of her study, which show the positive effects of meditation on both mental and physical health.  Even though the benefits of having a healthy body to prevent ill health are widely known; drinking water, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet; the idea of nurturing our minds to prevent stress and ill health however, is often overlooked.

Find out how leadership is linked to a number of psychological tools that could be practiced and implemented as a way of supporting more consistent and effective leadership.  With many different generations working throughout the farming community Holly will explain how the public perception surrounding the ‘older’ generation to be generally less willing is not necessarily the case – with the science and psychology around the benefits of mindfulness explaining how it supports consistent, great leadership and achieving success.

Whilst the role of women is becoming more apparent throughout the industry Holly is keen to ensure that we must not forget the role of men in the industry as well – instead she feels the most imperative question we should be asking is why is the distribution of women throughout roles in the dairy industry not of equal ratio to men.

Completing the line up will be NFU president Minette Batters who will speak on the implications of Brexit for the UK dairy sector, and specifically what barriers, we as an industry, will need to break just a few short months after the conference takes place.

Animal nutrition technology company AB Vista will be showcasing the power of mentoring and networking, which will see them share stories on how peer mentoring has helped them throughout their careers in agriculture.  They will also demonstrate the importance of building a successful network through mentoring in both an official and unofficial context.

The conference, sponsored by HSBC, takes place on Wednesday 19 September at Sixways Stadium, Worcester.  To purchase tickets and for further information please visit  where there are preferential ticket rates for students, women in dairy members and group members.  Should you have any queries please email or call 02476 639317


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.