Independent livestock consultant Dr Jude Capper is the winner of the inaugural Dairy Industry Woman of the Year Award, from a shortlist of 15 candidates. The presentation was made at the 2017 Women in Dairy Conference held in Coventry last week. Women in Dairy is a joint Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and Promar International initiative, with support from AHDB Dairy.

 Andy Hipwell and Dr Jude Capper

Andy Hipwell and Dr Jude Capper

Runners-up were Cornish dairy farmer and NFU group chair Bridget Whell, who received a special Committee Award, and 2016 Devon county woman farmer of the year Nicky Lockyer.

The award is sponsored by HSBC which was also principal sponsor of the conference. Regional agriculture director at HSBC Andy Hipwell commented that it was an honour to support an award that recognises the fantastic contribution made by women in the sector.

“The three finalists had incredibly varied backgrounds and reasons for nomination but were all equally inspiring,” noted Women in Dairy patron and Dorset farmer Di Wastenage.  “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 the award was “totally unexpected and completely overwhelming. 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.”

Dr Capper is a Harper Adams graduate where she also took her PhD in ruminant nutrition and behaviour. She then went to the US to carry out post-doctoral research in Cornell University, which led to assistant, adjunct and affiliate professor roles at Washington State and Montana Universities.

In 2012 she returned to the UK to set up her Bovidiva consultancy based in Oxfordshire.