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Semex Conference 2015
January 12, 2015

Taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, Semex UK are hosting their 25th annual conference. Assembling speakers from all over the industry, over 250 farmers are gathered to hear though provoking discussion and debate regarding matters concerning dairy producers.
Throughout the 2-day conference, speakers from around the world have gathered to discuss key issues facing the current dairy industry.
Recent milk pricing and concern regarding the volatility within the industry provided speakers with topical and at times thought provoking discussion and stark realisations.


  • In December 2014, 60 British Dairy Farmers left the industry
  • There are now fewer than 10,000 dairy farmers left in the UK
  • The number of current Dairy farmers in the UK has halved since 2002

Meurig Raymond
President National Farmers Union

Meurig Raymond farms 3,500 acres in Pembrokeshire in partnership with his twin brother, eldest son and nephew.  The farm grows 2,200 acres of combinable crops and 335 acres of potatoes. There are 620 dairy cows, with 300 followers. The farm also has 600 head of beef cattle and around 2,500 store lambs, fattened during winter.
He was elected as Vice President of the NFU in 2004, became Deputy President in 2006 and President in 2014.
He became a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in 2000 and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in January 2005 for his services to agriculture.

David Handley
Dairy Farmer and Chairman of Farmers for Action

David, in partnership with his wife, farms a 290 acre unit carrying 100 pedigree Jersey cows based in Monmouth, in south Wales. So far, he has dedicated 15 years to campaigning for better milk prices for dairy farmers and is synonymous throughout the UK and beyond with Farmers for Action (FFA)
David was presented with The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers Royal Award for his outstanding services to the industry in 2006.

Ake Hantoft
Chairman, Arla Foods amba

√Öke is a mixed farmer with 450 high yielding cows on 450 hectares at √Ėsarp, Laholm, Sweden. He is also the current chairman of Arla Foods amba.
He was appointed chairman in 2011 after being vice chairman from 2003, and having originally joined the Board in 2000.
Prior to that, in 1998, he joined the board of Arla ekonomisk förening, which merged with the Danish MD Foods in 2000 to become Arla Foods.
He employs five people on his farm, along with himself and his wife.
Arla Foods is a cooperative owned by 13,500 dairy farmers (3,200 are UK farmers). The company is the UK’s leading dairy company and the largest supplier of milk, butter, spreads and cheeses with well-known brands including Anchor and Lurpak.

 Neil Kennedy
Interim Chief Executive, Adams Foods

Neil has 30 years of experience in the food industry and has held senior positions with a number of leading dairy and FMCG companies both in the UK and internationally.  This includes being Sales and Marketing Director for both St Ivel Provisions and St Ivel Foods Europe; Development Director for Unigate and Managing Director of St Ivels Spreads, Toms Confectionery and The Cheese Company.  In 2008 he was appointed Chief Executive of Milk Link, the leading British farmer owned dairy processing co-operative and was instrumental in its growth and development.
In 2013 Neil, with his business partner Tim Smiddy, led a successful management buyout of Crediton Dairy, the leading dairy drinks business, and became its Chairman.
In September 2014 he was appointed as interim CEO of Adams Foods, the major supplier of British and Irish cheese to the UK market, having already been a Non‚ÄďExecutive Director of the business since November 2013.
In addition, Neil is also a Non-executive Director of Belton Cheese and Yeo Valley.
At an industry level, Neil has served as both Vice Chairman and Chairman of Dairy UK.  In October 2013 he was presented with the prestigious Dairy Industry Award for his outstanding contribution towards the development of the British dairy industry.

Danielle Pinnington
Managing Director, Shoppercentric Ltd

Danielle is the founder and owner of Shoppercentric ‚Äď an independent research agency that shows manufacturers and retailers how to turn shoppers into buyers.
With more than 25 years in the research sector, Danielle began her career working in the area of branding and sales volume estimation, but switched to shopper research in 2000 when it became clear retail was where the real fun was to be had.
Since setting up Shoppercentric in 2004 Danielle has worked with a wide variety of retailers, suppliers and agencies in the area of shopper research, including helping with the development of the BP M&S flagship stores, and providing the likes of Mondelez, Kerry Foods and Coca Cola with shopper inputs to their trade strategies.
Danielle regularly speaks on the subject of shopper trends at conferences and in the press, and is always ready with an opinion on what shoppers want from retail.

Gwyn Jones
Chairman, RUMA (Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance)
Chairman, DairyCo

After 35 years in dairy farming the partnership has come to an end and Gwyn is now immersed in off farm activity as well as farming with his daughter Gwenan.
Gwyn represent the industry; nationally and throughout mainland Europe.
AHDB Main Board Member and Chairman of Dairy Co, Chairman of RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Association), he‚Äôs an active member of FAWC (Farm Animal Welfare Committee ‚Äď 3rd term), the BVA‚Äôs (British Veterinary Association) Welfare and Ethics Committee, Director of Task 37, and until very recently a main board director of ADBA (Anaerobic Digestion and Bio-gas Association).
His influence in Europe extends to Chairman of EPRUMA (European Platform for Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals) and Vice Chairman of Copa Cogeca’s Animal Health and Welfare Working Group.
As a strategist, Gwyn was instrumental in changing the regional representation and functioning of the NFU, developing a model for scanning surveillance which is currently steering the ruminations of AHVLA and chairing the Veterinary Development Council’s working group on veterinary engagement with the food chain. Gwyn also served as a member of the NFU btb Strategy Group.
Gwyn is a member of The University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine External Liaison and Advisory Committee.

 Paul Larmer
Chief Executive Officer, Semex Alliance

Paul has a lifetime experience in the bovine genetics industry, with direct and in-depth knowledge of International sales management, marketing and management. He’s been responsible for the development of Semex business world-wide result in increased sales and revenue and also increasing Semex presence with investments in China, Hungary and Brazil. He currently serves as President of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair board of directors.

Dr Lewis James
Lecturer in Sports Nutrition, Loughborough University

Dr Lewis James completed a BSc in Food Science at the University of Reading (2005), before moving to Loughborough University to complete an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition (2006) and a PhD investigating the effects of energy restriction on fluid and electrolyte balance (2012). After spending some time lecturing at Nottingham Trent University, he now holds the position of Lecturer in Nutrition within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University. Lewis’ research focusses on the effect of diet on human appetite, health and exercise performance and he has published 20 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, including a number of studies examining the effect of milk and milk proteins on post-exercise recovery. Further to this, Lewis has made television appearances (Britain’s Favourite Supermarket Foods, Food Hospital and The One Show) to demonstrate how milk can enhance post-exercise recovery.

Day 2

Steve Miller
Dairy Farmer, Shanael Holsteins, Evesham

Steve Miller (35) farms near Evesham in Worcestershire.  Steven along with his parents and brother Paul run the award-winning 320-cow herd, Shanael Holsteins.  Their herd won the coveted NMR/Royal Association British Dairy Farmers gold cup in 2012.
Their farming enterprise has grown considerable over a 20 year period, growing from 100 head when they took over the farm tenancy to a herd which now totals over 700 head, comprising of a milking herd of 400. The farm is a 25 year Farm Based Tenancy (F.B.T)
Steve previously gained experience in Canada working at Sunnymaple Farms, and was a keen member of HYB, winning the All-Britain Champion Showman on 2 occasions.

 Imad Saleh
Directory of Dairy Farms, National Agricultural Development Company, Saudi Arabia

In charge of the Management and Operations of 60,000 Heads of Dairy Cattle. Managing over 800 employees.
At Nadec, Imad was able to increase the production of 1L/cow/day in 6 months! He established some key SOP in feeding and staff management.
A team Leader and believing in team work, he likes coaching & training and helping others to perform. Challenging goals are his motivation



John Fetrow VMD, M.B.A
Professor of Dairy Production Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Fetrow has served on the faculty at colleges of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota (since 1991), North Carolina State University, and the University of Pennsylvania.  He has more than three decades of on-farm dairy experience and academic work in dairy production medicine and field large animal practice.
He was the co-author of the textbook ‚ÄúHerd Health: Food Animal Production Medicine‚ÄĚ and has co-authored numerous articles in professional journals and for dairy production specialists.
Dr. Fetrow’s current academic focus is in dairy production management, the economics of operating decisions made on dairy farms, disease control, and drug use management on dairies. Dr. Fetrow is past Chairman of the Department of Clinical and Population Sciences in the College as well as past Assistant Vice President for the Academic Health Center.


Veternarian and Partner, Evolution Farm Vets

Sally qualified from Glasgow Vet School in 2002, gaining the final year farm prize. Her ambition was always to be a dairy vet and she took her first purposeful step in that direction by joining a farm practice in Penrith for the first 2 years of her career. This was followed by the now almost-obligatory stint of experience in New Zealand, and then by a period at Genus Bull Stud in Ruthin, overseeing bull health and semen exports.
Her path then took her to Somerset¬†¬† ‚Äėwhere the dairy cows are‚Äô.¬† After 12 months in farm animal practice she established Evolution Farm Vets, based in Nether Stowey near Bridgwater. During the first year of her new venture she successfully completed her Diploma in Bovine Reproduction . . . and equally-successfully fitted in her wedding!
She has since been joined by Brendan John as her business partner and they are now expanding Evolution‚Äôs services into public speaking and farmer-training ‚Äď the latter a subject close to Sally‚Äôs heart. Sally feels strongly that farmers should have the opportunity to take their stockmanship to the next level and Evolution‚Äôs tailored courses in Advanced Herdsman‚Äôs Skills are growing in popularity.
When supposedly not working, Sally enjoys her family time with her husband Miles (Evolution‚Äôs Practice Manager) and her two young children ‚Äď but admits that her thoughts are rarely far away from her dairy cows.

 Liz Philip

Chief Executive, Askham Bryan College & Newton Rigg College

A Yorkshire farmer’s daughter, Liz has spent her 32 year career working in further education in the North of England. She is Chief Executive of York-based Askham Bryan College and its sister college, Newton Rigg in Cumbria which was absorbed into the Askham Bryan family in 2011. Her specialisms are in agricultural business studies and horse management. A practical and hands-on individual, she and her husband also run a farm on the Yorkshire Wolds.
A Hull University graduate, Liz’s career began in special education, she became Deputy Principal at Selby College (taking it to Beacon Status) and was appointed Principal of York-based Askham Bryan College in 2007.
The College has some 5,100 learners at its York and Newton Rigg campuses as well as at satellite centres in Bradford, Harrogate, Guisborough, Thirsk and Scarborough and boasts a £27.5m turnover (2013/14 statistics).
A wide range of courses are provided ‚Äď from degrees through to part time diplomas and vocational qualifications. Departments include agriculture, animal management, equine, forestry and arboriculture, horticulture, business, international, engineering and construction, outdoor leisure and commercial.
The College was designated a Centre of Vocational Excellence in Food Chain Technology in 2005 and two years later, in Rural Tourism. It hosts the National Beef Training Centre and has continued to develop the Uplands Centre based in Cumbria.¬† Developing apprenticeships in the rural sector are a key part of the College’s ethos.¬† Funding was granted for a development totalling ¬£9m to establish a new dairy at Newton Rigg College which opened in May 2014, and an Animal Management Centre (currently under construction) at Askham Bryan College, York which is due to open in May 2015.


David Yates
Dairy farmer, Meikle Firthhead, Castle Douglas

David owns and manages the 500+ Holstein Meikle Firthhead herd in Castle Douglas


David Swale
Partner, Joylan Farms, Preston

David is a partner in the family-run dairy farm situated in Lancashire and manages the 500+ pedigree dairy herd. Having overseen a period of dramatic growth over the last 15 years, the farm now has considerably more stock, land and staff.
The herd enjoyed admirable success in the show ring in past years but with unstable milk prices, the farm made the decision to begin processing their own milk and retailing it under their own Meadowcroft label.


Summer 2018