Midlands Woman Elected To The Board Of Lakeland Dairies

Aisling Neville says will do all she can to support all farmers at the Board table.

Midlands dairy farmer has been appointed to the Board of Lakeland Dairies.

After a keenly contested election, 28 year old Aisling Neville from Offaly became the latest member of the Lakeland Dairies Board.

She has lifelong involvement on her family dairy farm in Offaly, along with a first-class honours’ degree in Agricultural Science, and experience on an 800-cow farm in Victoria, Australia.

Aisling who currently runs a 150-cow dairy herd in Moate, Westmeath says it was her positive experience on the Lakeland Dairies regional committee that encouraged her to go further.

She says:

"I didn’t see too many young people or women involved at Board level. I believe we need both younger and older members on a board to get a balanced opinion. I have a strong background in farming, the science behind it, as well as the financial and business end of it. You need to have good people around a table to drive a business forward and make good decisions. So why not me?"

"My number one concern will always be the farmers who supply the Co-op and maximising the milk price for them. I’m here to represent farmers, I will listen to their concerns and support them in any way I can. I want to help all farmers understand how their co-op works and is there to help them. This understanding would in turn get more Lakeland Dairies farmers involved in regional committees."

"I knew I was going to stay in the dairy sector, because I have always loved dairy cows, breeding them, showing them and milking them. So, leasing my own place was the right thing to do, even if I was only 22. And once I had the farm up and running well, I felt I was in a position to do something else within the sector. So, when this board position came up, I went for it."

"My big fear was that if I got onto the board with a gender quota in place, people would say, ‘Oh she is only there to meet the quota’. So, I am delighted that I was voted in on my own merit and nobody can say I was put in."

"I was voted in by my local farmers who are majority men. That says to me that there is no need for gender quotas in agricultural organisations. What there is a need for is encouragement for young girls and women to get involved in farm organisations.

"I don’t want to be segregated as a woman in farming, I want us to play by the same rules and intensity as male farmers, because we are well able, and I think I have proven that."

Lakeland Dairies Chairperson, Niall Matthews congratulated Aisling on her successful election campaign,

"I am delighted to see a young farmer like Aisling interested in the structure of our Co-op.  The Co-operative movement is the backbone and pillar of so many rural communities. This is a crucially important time for our great sector, so it is important to have as many unique views and perspectives around the Board table. 

"Aisling is a valued Lakeland Dairies’ milk supplier, and now as a valued Board member, I have no doubt she will make a positive impact and be a strong representative for the farmers in her area."

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