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Semex International Dairy Conference

14th - 16th January 2024

Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow

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Fraser has been farming in partnership with his father for over 20 years at Calcourt Farms. During this time, he has recently (and successfully, after a 10-year planning battle) built a 1000-cow unit. The farm uses the latest technologies to improve efficiencies on and meet environmental legislation. Whilst currently a farmer ambassador for MSD and JFC, Fraser has also been on the next-generation program as well as being part of Just Farmers. 

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Our 2024 Speakers...


Bonita Norris is one of the UK's leading adventurers. She has spoken at hundreds of events over her greatly influential career as a speaker, and has been touted on numerous occasions as one of the most inspiring speakers. When it comes to taking on seemingly impossible challenges, Bonita Norris is the real deal. Not only is she a great storyteller with thousands of hours of presenting under her belt, she is also a respected mountaineer and juggles motivational speaking around her expeditions to the world's most dangerous mountains. In 2010, Bonita became the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest. Two years later, in 2012, she became the first British woman to reach the summit of Mt. Lhotse, a testament to Bonita's determination. From an amateur climber to a world-renowned adventure in a staggeringly short amount of time, she now inspires audiences to take their own leap of faith, like she did. Her journey against the odds resonates with audiences, leaving them with an improved perspective of their own potential. As an author of The Girl Who Climbed Everest and podcast host, Bonita has gained an international audience of committed fans.

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Abi Kay is deputy editor at Farmers Weekly. Previously she worked at Farmers Guardian as head of news and in the NFU’s government and parliamentary affairs team. She began her career in parliament, where she worked for six years. She has won a number of accolades for agricultural journalism, including the Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

Deputy Editor, Farmers Weekly


President of NFU

Minette is a farmer and the President of the National Farmers Union of England and Wales. Campaigning on behalf of NFU members about the importance of British food and farming has been a key driver for Minette throughout her presidency. She was co-founder of the campaign initiatives "Ladies in Beef" and "Great British Beef Week". 

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Managing Director, Co-Founder of Oxbury Bank Plc

After graduating in agriculture from Aberystwyth University, Nick has spent his career in the farming industry, in UK based financial services and latterly in international agricultural IT. After leaving Bank of Scotland in 2000 where he held the position of Senior Director of Agriculture with responsibility for the UK, Nick was instrumental in setting up First4Farming Limited (F4F) which went on to become the leading specialist IT integration and solution provider for the agricultural and animal-health supply network across Europe, North America, Asia and Southern Africa. After F4F’s acquisition by Proagrica in 2015, Nick, together with a colleague, launched Oxbury Bank as a fully regulated bank in February 2021. Oxbury is the only UK bank dedicated to British agriculture, focusing on food and farming, 90% of its shareholders are stakeholders in the industry.

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Writer and Market Analyst

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Food and Drink Federation Chief Executive

Specialising in the dairy sector for over 25 years, Chris has commented on all aspects of the dairy supply chain from primary production down on the farm, through economics and politics at processor, retailer and consumer level. Chris writes the fortnightly dairy report for The Provision Trade Federation, and a monthly column in British Dairying and is “everybody’s favourite dairy market analyst” with his regular contribution on the weekly Kite Podcast.

Karen joined FDF in December 2021. Prior to this, she was the Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association for four years, representing the Scotch Whisky sector in the UK and export markets worldwide. Before joining the SWA, Karen was a diplomat in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for 16 years, where she held a variety of posts in London and overseas, including as British Ambassador to Morocco and non-resident Ambassador to Mauritania and Counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington. She was also posted to the UK's Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and the British Embassy in Baghdad. In London, she served in the Cabinet Office and the Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as in several roles in the Foreign Office. Before joining government, Karen was a lawyer at Clifford Chance, working in London and Hong Kong. Karen is an Adviser to the UK Government’s Board of Trade and received an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2022 for her services to international trade.

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Chief Executive Officer, AB Agri

José’s farming background ignited his passion for agriculture and his strongly-held belief that what we eat, and what we feed our families, should be produced safely and sustainably. He completed his Baccalaureate in farming, gaining practical experience on poultry and swine production units. After graduating in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Universities of Rouen and Marseille, José began working in the biotech field, where his farming knowledge inspired him to pioneer the use of technology in agricultural production. This was the start of his extensive international career, which has taken him across Europe, the US, Japan, Latin America and China, and included the creation of crop protection company Arysta LifeScience EMEA, which he built and nurtured into a successful global business. José has fulfilled a variety of executive and business development roles, operating across the human health, animal health, nutrition and feed, and crop protection sectors.

Director Sales and Business Development, Semex USA

Michael has over 25 years of business-to-business experience in the agricultural industry. Michael served as the assistant dairy judging team coach while pursuing both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ohio State University. During this time, he also spent 2 years as aa part time classifier for the American Guernsey Association. After graduating from university with a. Master of Science in Dairy Cattle Genetics, Michael worked for the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) as Director of Appraisal (Classification) and Assistant Manager for Jersey Marketing Service. During his tenure at AJCA, Michael also served as coordinator for the All-American Jersey Show. In 2009 Michael joined Semex as the Northeast Regional manager and served until 2014. Prior to returning to Semex in 2016, Michael was Director of Sales at River Valley Farm, playing a key role in the launch and development of the well-respected River Valley Sires. Michael grew up in Elkhart County, Indiana where his grandfather Dr M L Weldy was a nationally recognized large animal veterinarian and owned the well-known Maurana Farm Guernsey herd. Today, Michael and his wife Tawnya and daughter Hannah live on a small farm in Waynesville, Ohio where they raise registered Jersey and Guernsey heifers that are part of a small group of elite registered cattle housed at both Quietcove Holsteins and Herman Jerseys. Michael has judges Jerseys in 5 different countries, been associate judge of the Jersey Jug twice and has judges both Jerseys and Guernseys at multiple state fairs around the United States.


VP Corporate Development, Semex Alliance

Drew has over 30 years experience in the genetics industry starting in 1991 as a sire analyst working through all major breeding company roles to become VP Global Sales and Marketing for The Semex Alliance. For 5 years Drew was Chief Agricultural Officer at The Scottish Government implementing CAP reform before becoming CEO of the private equity backed Silent Herdsman Ltd. Currently VP Corporate Development for The Semex Alliance, Drew leads the Semex sustainability strategy to help global food supply chains target net zero by 2050. During his many years working in the cattle breeding industry, Drew has witnessed many genetic breakthroughs and is incredibly excited to be part of what he believes could be the most consumer relevant development yet. For the past 17 years Drew lives on a farm in South West Scotland with his wife and 4 children following 3 years based in Madison, WI.

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Lindsay Consulting, Sustainable Solutions

Brian is UK-based and operates a global consultancy business (Lindsay Consulting) bridging the gap between food companies and farming in a quest for mutually beneficial approaches to achieving sustainable food systems. Currently Brian holds the post of Director for the Dairy Sustainability Framework (DSF), launched in November 2013. This program covers 32% of global milk production and is open to all milk producing regions of the globe. The DSF is a model that allows members to adapt their sustainability programs to suit local needs and priorities in a quantifiable way. It is Brian’s role to support the global members with their sustainability initiatives under the Framework. As the Director for the DSF, Brian is also responsible for a Board of nine global (Global Dairy Association CEO’s) ‘Governors’ and the coordination of the DSF multi-stakeholder Advisory Group who both challenge and support the DSF Board on DSF evolution and operational procedures. Brian is also Global Dairy Platform’s (GDP) Global Sector Lead for Sustainability. This involves reviewing new science, responding to global food industry and political consultations at a number of levels, providing position statements on behalf of the global dairy sector where required in both written and verbal formats. Global Dairy Platform is a membership organisation with its Board made up of the CEO’s of the world’s major dairy companies such as Arla Foods, Dairy Farmers of America, Saputo, Fonterra, Mengniu, Leprino Foods, Meiji and Friesland Campina. Brian reports directly to the Executive Director of GDP. Brian is currently coordinating work for GDP members to ensure that scope 3 GHG accounting reporting frameworks (GHG-Protocol, SBTi etc) are appropriate for the agricultural (Dairy) sector. It is critical that these frameworks ensure farmers and value chains alike can be recognised and remunerated, where appropriate for the mitigation contribution that is made. Brian is currently a Board member of the Dairy Asia initiative. Dairy Asia brings 14 Asian Countries together to collaborate on sustainable dairy production challenges. Brian’s key area of influence on this Committee is to drive the initiative beyond one that just talks and published reports. Brian completed 2 terms as the Environment Representative on the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) Science and Programme Coordination Committee (where all scientific programs for the IDF are reviewed and ratified) and prior to this, 2, two-year terms as Chair of the IDF Standing Committee on Environment Brian is also a Steering Group member of the global Dairy Sector’s, Pathways to Dairy Net Zero initiative, launched at the Food Systems Summit, November 2021. Brian has Managed several global and sectoral initiatives on methane quantification (GWP*), Carbon Sequestration (C-Sequ), launched September 2022, and dairy sector carbon foot printing standard (IDF) with the latest update launched 2022 which involved the coordination of over 50 global subject specialists to achieve consensus. Brian has also been part of the multi-stakeholder team that has developed the recently released GRI Standard for Agriculture aquaculture and Fishing Sectors. Brian is a co-author on the FAO publication, The Role of Animal Health in National Climate Commitments published August 2022. Brian is currently managing a global initiative developing an internationally accepted protocol for the inclusion of on farm mitigation actions (starting with methane inhibitors) in on farm, regional and national reporting. Brian is regularly asked to speak and facilitate industry meetings and conferences on sustainability and livestock agriculture. Through his work for Global Dairy Platform he is the regular spokesman for the Business and Industry constituency Group at the United Nations Climate Change negotiations in 2020 , 2021, 2022 and 2023 (June and November each year) at the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and now the Sharm El Sheikh Agreement on Agriculture and Food Security. In addition, Brian is also an active participant at the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting (UNEA) in Kenya (2019 and 2022) as a member of the Business and Industry Major Group. As a consultant, Brian has many individual clients ranging from farmer supply groups to multinational food companies. Brian has the experience and skills to operate at both field and Board levels in his efforts to support companies in embedding sustainability into strategy development.


Minette is a farmer and the President of the National Farmers Union of England and Wales. Campaigning on behalf of NFU members about the importance of British food and farming has been a key driver for Minette throughout her presidency. She was co-founder of the campaign initiatives "Ladies in Beef" and "Great British Beef Week". 


Tom Martin is passionate about sharing what happens ‘behind the farm gate’, which has led him to appearances on TV shows ‘Born Mucky’ and ‘Countryfile’, and hosting a well-supported presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as ‘Farmer Tom’. In 2019 Tom started the first ‘Cheese-A-Day Challenge’, celebrating the Great British Cheese industry by tasting - with others online - a different British cheese every day of February. In 2017 he launched ‘Farmer Time’ (formerly called ‘FaceTime a Farmer’) which pairs farmers with school classes; currently 1,000 school classes video call to their paired farmer every fortnight to link curriculum learning with life on the farm.


UK Dairy Farmer

Possessing a huge passion for farming but not a farm, Matt and his wife Liz, took on their first tenancy in 2009 on an upland beef and sheep farm in Shap, Cumbria. They then started dairying in 2016 with a 2nd tenancy and currently milk 750 pedigree Holsteins and rear all youngstock with expansion plans over the winter to reach up to 1000 cows. Born and raised in South Cumbria, Matt went to University in Manchester to study genetics. After Uni, Matt worked on farms and managed to rent some land and buy some sheep and cattle before securing his first tenancy. Matt and Liz have 3 daughters and are a fabulous example of Mission Possible.

UK Farmer

Minette is a farmer and the President of the National Farmers Union of England and Wales. Campaigning on behalf of NFU members about the importance of British food and farming has been a key driver for Minette throughout her presidency. She was co-founder of the campaign initiatives "Ladies in Beef" and "Great British Beef Week". 

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Müller Milk and Ingredients CEO


Having joined the business in 2010 Rob has held senior roles in operations, logistics, milk supply and commercial giving him knowledge of the whole supply chain from farm gate to customer. In 2019 Rob became Chief Operating Officer covering the entire end to end supply chain and led the successful restructuring and transformation of the MMI business. Rob is now Chief Executive Officer with overall responsibility for MMI. He is married with two sons and enjoys watching and coaching rugby along with spending time with family and friends.


UK Dairy Farmer


Farming in partnership with his parents and Grandmother, Patrick manages 420 cows at Beckside Farm in Cumbria. A greenfield site was built in 2019 to allow expansion of the predominately Holstein herd which yields 11,800kg at 4.5% Fat and 3.5% Protein. Patrick has recently been awarded Dairy Farmer of the Year 2023 at the British Farming Awards and in any spare time he enjoys clay shooting and playing Hockey for Kendal.

Holly Malins has been a Technical Service Manager for Evonik Animal Nutrition in the UK since 2013, where her work focuses on amino acid nutrition and the implementation of low protein diets. Whilst she has a Masters degree in Applied Poultry Science from the University of Glasgow, as the implementation of rumen protected amino acids gains more traction in Europe, there are continuous opportunities to transfer knowledge of amino acid balancing over to the dairy industry. Holly has a keen interest in cattle, having been raised on her family’s beef, dairy & arable farm in Oxfordshire and enjoys playing rugby in her spare time.

Frances manages a herd of 550 pedigree Holstein cows yielding 12,500 at 4% butterfat, near Carmarthen, West Wales. In 2016, Frances attended Cornell University in New York to undertake a 1-year dairy management program. Passionate about her cows and the dairy industry, Frances carries out all management practices on farm including all fertility work, foot trimming and herd health checks and aims to maximize production to dilute fixed costs and to keep up with inflation.


Technical Service Manager, Evonik Animal Nutrition


UK Dairy Farmer


If you change the way we look at things, the things we look at change

More from our 2023 Semex International Dairy Conference

“Topical and relevant, great breadth of subjects, excellent speakers, wonderful company and entertainment – in summary, truly world class!”

- Bruce Mackie, Aberdeenshire

Semex International Dairy Conference

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