The managing director of Devon based Quickes Cheese, Mary Quicke MBE, was announced as this year's Dairy Industry Woman of the Year at the Women in Dairy conference last week.

With an impressive portfolio of achievements and awards to her name there is no doubt Mary’s career has been dedicated to the dairy industry – acknowledged with the receipt of an MBE for her contribution to farming and cheese-making in 2006.

In addition to running Quickes Cheese – a £3.5m turnover integrated cheesemaking and farming business – Mary holds a number of non-executive directorships including her role as a board member on the Food Standards Agency and the Academy of Cheese – an initiative she developed alongside the Guild of Fine Food to transform how cheese is sold across the globe. She also writes a monthly blog ‘Mary’s Dairy Diary’, and is a columnist for Devon Life.

The award saw many inspirational women being nominated for their hard work and dedication to the industry.

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Women in Dairy patron Di Wastenage said: "All of the entries were a great example of the vital roles played by women in the sector.

“Whilst this year’s finalists all had very varied backgrounds, they were equally inspiring, which led to the winner being chosen based on the original Women in Dairy values.

“Everything Mary has done, both with Quickes Cheese and on a wider level, represents the Women in Dairy ethos of ‘connect, share and inspire’ – with these values being consistently demonstrated throughout all of her work. What she has achieved is exceptional, as is her contribution to the industry.”

Mrs Quicke said she felt honoured to have been chosen as this year’s winner.

She said: “It’s such an acknowledgement for myself and the whole team and means a great deal to everyone involved. Thank you so much.”

Fourth generation Cornish dairy farmer Gemma Smale-Rowland was named runner-up for the award because of how she has connected with consumers through a number of platforms as well as the passion she has shown behind her desire to become a positive force within the dairy industry.

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