Lorna Robinson, managing director of Cloughbane Farm Foods Ltd in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone which makes and sells gorgeous stews, pies and quality beef, chicken, lamb and pork, was awarded Woman of Excellence in Agriculture at the Farming Life/Danske Bank Awards last year and continues to fly the flag for women in the agri-food industry.
“It was a wonderful night and an important way of recognising women in agriculture,” said Lorna.
“Winning my award definitely gave me more confidence particularly as a woman in a male-dominated industry.
“Farming is still seen as a man’s job and is very male led and I think the more women we can celebrate in this industry the better.’’
She added: “My own mother worked hard on our farm.
“I think it’s important that we have more ambassadors for women in farming in Northern Ireland.
“I think women can be just as effective as men in farming; even if we are not physically stronger we bring other skills to the table.
“When I won the Female Entrepreneur of the year in 2006 the judges said it was great to see a female heading up a real farm shop on a real farm - which at that time was a unique concept.”
Lorna describes her main passions in life as family, farm and food.
She developed her love of farming growing up on a dairy farm often working before and after school and following her parents’ industrious work ethic.
As a member of Castlecaulfield Young Farmers she met her husband Sam, also a farmer, and the pair enjoyed raising their children alongside farm work.
With such a background it’s not surprising that Lorna has gone on to achieve such success in farming with Cloughbane Farm Shop proving immensely popular for its meats and ready meal products. The shop is right on the family farm, Cloughbane, with Lorna firmly at the helm.
Not content with simply selling meats Lorna began to think about how she could diversify her own farm-fresh products; having a key role in supervising the local farmer’s markets gave Lorna a sense of the huge demand for delicious local meats and other artisan produce.
Having completed qualifications in finance and marketing and also working for a time in sales, Lorna was well placed to become brand savvy and to publicise Cloughbane goods in the right way; she has also worked to mentor other farmers.
The company’s mince pies, cottage pies, chicken, ham and leek pie and delicious Irish stew as well as ready-made roast dinners and fresh beef, chicken, lamb and pork have helped Cloughbane clock up some 13 Great Taste Awards with accolades for their fillet steak, sirloin and rib eye as well as nine awards for their pies and ready meals.
Cloughbane products are now stocked by all the major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Hendersons.
At Cloughbane farm to fork freshness abounds and all meat is reassuringly local.
For information on categories and how to enter the 2017 Farming Life & Danske Bank Awards please log onto: jpnievents.co.uk