Recipient of the prestigious John Dennison Lifetime Achievement award is Derbyshire dairy breeder, Bill Nadin of the Sterndale herd.

The award, presented in memory of Cumbrian dairy farmer John Dennison, by the Dennison family, aims to recognise a dairy cattle breeder who is judged to be a high achiever and exemplary role model.

Bill has spent his life building on the foundation of strong cow families, which excel in strength, type and the ability of produce large volumes of milk. He is admired and appreciated throughout the industry and has shown foresight and an incredible talent for breeding superior quality cattle throughout his life.

He has lived at Fernydale Farm all his life and started his dairy career helping his uncle on the farm. At 15 he left school to follow his passion for cows, milking mostly commercial Friesians. In his early 20's he upgraded some of the better cows in the herd to pedigree and used semen from a Canadian Holstein bull on the best, soon realising the advantage of the results with their larger frames for the capacity to eat more forage for improving milk yield.

His efforts were well rewarded too and in the mid 1980’s, he was presented the coveted award ‘Dairy Farmer of the Year’ over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales from more than 100 entrants.

Always looking to improve the herd he travelled to Canada and United States in the late 1980’s and early 90’s to source new cow families, bringing back numerous animals to start families such as the Fawn’s, Gloria’s and Barbs to name but a few, as well as also investing in the UK with his purchases like the Ghost’s and Ashlyn’s.

He has had five reduction sales over the years, and in the 2003 sale achieved the highest price ever paid at auction for a cow in milk, when Field of Dreams Formation Erle sold for 76,000gns.

Not shy to invest deeply he brought some embryos jointly in partnership with Riverdane Holsteins from the famous Lavender Ruby Redrose Red. This resulted in only one heifer calf, however she proved to be exceptional and sold in a 2008 sale in Connecticut, USA, for $255,000 – the highest priced yearling heifer to be sold at that time.

Some bulls also sold and have gone on to do well such as Sterndale Rose Royce Red which Semex marketed in the UK and abroad with numerous excellent animals to date. Sterndale Affection from the Ashlyn family has also bred many excellent cows in the UK to date.

Cattle shows have been are an important part of Bills life and together with his partner Yasmin Bradbury, the couple are strong supporters of all major and local shows, securing many class winners and championships along with numerous All Britain Nominations. Their greatest achievement has been winning UK Dairy Expo on three occasions with their legendary Goldwyn daughter, Peak Goldwyn Rhapsody Ex97.

Despite selling the milking portion of the herd in 2018, Bill continues to work tirelessly and is a huge advocate for encouraging the young members of the industry.

He was also presented with the Holstein UK Howard Sneesby Memorial Trophy, last year, an award which recognises those members who have made a significant difference to others through constant support and encouragement. Bill has also recently been entered into the Holstein International most Influential Breeder of the last 25 years competition.