‘True icon’ of dairy industry remembered at Cream Awards

11 September 2023

A photo of Ian Potter

Photograph: Lydia Clare

The great and the good of the UK dairy industry gathered in central London last week for the prestigious Cream Awards. 

Organised by British Dairying magazine, the annual event showcases some of the brightest and best people within the dairy sector, as well as forward-thinking businesses and innovations the industry has to offer.

Larger than life character

One person sadly missing from this year’s event was Ian Potter, the no-nonsense dairy sector journalist and commentator, who sadly and unexpectedly died earlier this year.

Ian was a huge contributor to the British dairy sector, someone who had the interest of dairy farmers at heart and who gave opinions on prices, goings-on, and misconduct of the sector, reported through his own weekly dairy news bulletin.

A farmer in this own right, Ian wore many hats throughout his lifetime, he became a milk quota broker in 1986, was a columnist for the Dairy Farmer magazine for more than 25 years and was instrumental in the running of the NFSC (National Fallen Stock Company). A larger-than-life character, Ian was known and respected across the industry, by producers and processors alike, for his level of knowledge and keen eye for detail, and his understanding of not only dairy businesses and their operations but the characters that made (and broke) them.

Posthumous award

Ian was honoured for his hard work and dedication by being posthumously awarded The NFU Dairy Ambassador of the Year Award.

NFU Dairy Board chair Michael Oakes, who presented Ian’s family with the award, said: “The void Ian’s passing has left is felt immensely within the farming community.

“It is fair to say that Ian wouldn’t nod along and agree with those around him to appease anyone in a room – if Ian disagreed with you, rest assured you would know about it.

Michael Oakes after presenting the award to Ian's son, Jack Potter and daughter, Lydia Clare at the Cream Awards 2023. Photograph: Cream Awards

“But this is that made Ian such an asset; he always spoke with great knowledge and from the heart.

“The relationships Ian built across industry are a testament to his character. Despite being one of dairy’s most well-connected supporters, he was always professional, operating in the strictest confidence with producers and processors alike who knew they could trust his discretion.

“Ian was a true icon in the dairy sector who has been described as at his happiest when fighting for the rights and causes of dairy farmers. The years of investment he poured into the industry will continue to be recognised for many years to come. Ian was not only our Dairy Ambassador of the Year but one of the most significant ambassadors of his generation. He will be missed.”

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