We're delighted to announce that Mary has won the Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award. She received the accolade during the national Women in Dairy Conference, held at Sixways Stadium, Worcester. Selected by the panel for having consistently demonstrated the core values of Women in Dairy - to connect, share and inspire - Mary’s contribution was celebrated alongside the achievements of women from across the British dairy industry.
Since taking the reins of the family farm in 1987, following her mother, Prudence, building the original cheese dairy at Quicke’s in the 1970s, Mary has overseen the steady evolution of both farming practices and cheesemaking at Home Farm. From the switch to specially bred cows to the development of an eco-friendly cheese mite management system, Mary has been driven by the pursuit of excellence in her craft, while remaining committed to sharing experiences, ideas and advances with the wider industry.
Now sitting on the board at both the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) Dairy Sector, Mary has also contributed her palate to cheese competitions throughout the world, including the British Cheese Awards, World Cheese Awards and American Cheese Society Awards. Mary received an MBE for her contribution to farming and cheesemaking in 2005, became a member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers in 2016 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Academy of Cheese in 2017.
Shining a spotlight on the leading role taken by women on dairy farms across the UK, Women in Dairy, which is run by RABDF and supported by a number of organisations, was established to acknowledge those individuals who promote the sector and everything it stands for, whatever their role within the industry. The shortlist for this year’s Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award also included Gemma Smale-Rowland, founder of Cornish Moo in Cornwall, Becki Leach, senior consultant at Kite Consulting in Yorkshire, and Lynsey Awde, owner of Broadmeadows Farm in Cumbria.
Mary commented: “I’m a great admirer of the work that’s been carried out by the Women in Dairy project since it was first established in 2015, so winning this award is a huge honour and a tremendous achievement for me and all the team. We have so many challenges and opportunities before us in dairy, including the chance to improve the carbon sequestration value of permanent pasture to make sure that eating dairy actually helps save the planet, but in order to thrive we must make the best use of all the people, regardless of their background or where they come from. There are so many amazing women in the dairy industry and I am very proud to be one of them.”