On Wednesday and Thursday last week myself and the farmers headed to Europe’s largest outdoor festival ! . When I think of festivals I think of summer time, loads of music, face paints, shorts and fancy wellies and very trendy famous people with farming being the last thing I would think of. Europe’s largest outdoor festival is actually all things farming, food and enterprise with a little bit of music and dancing thrown in but no muddy fields full of tents. The National ploughing Championships this year were on Tues, Wed and Thurs the 19th to 21st of September and was held in Screggan in Co Offaly. The ploughing is a yearly event that over the three days attract over 200,000 people, they come from far and near to see millions of euro worth of machinery, livestock and food. This day out is planned from one year to the other in a lot of houses and we haven’t missed it in years. This is an event for not just the farming community but for everyone as there is just so much to see and do and even though the weather this year on the Wednesday was crap we still wouldn’t have missed it, after all isn’t that what rain gear is for ?
This year was also a little special as the eldest farmer ( on the right) received his award from Dairymaster on the Wednesday and was presented it to him by the Minister for Agriculture, Micheal Creed. The two lads worked hard ( partied hard )on their thesis and it payed off in the end, they both started college together and received their awards together as well.
There were lots of cute animals to see and also a pink Valtra tractor for breast cancer, I couldn’t convince the farmers that we really needed this tractor.
For the last couple of years I have curated the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account on the Wednesday of the ploughing, taking photos and some videos during the day to share with the over 12k followers the account has, this year I got to curate for two days, the Wed and Thurs and it was made extra special as on the Wednesday it and myself were number 1 in the top 5 journalists to follow for the plouging which I was delighted with as its a great account giving people a inside view of real life on a farm. Here is the link below.
We put together a list of the top 5 journalists tweeting from #ploughing17. https://t.co/MLUMACCPCH
So that’s the ploughing over for another year and we are all looking forward to next year already, Roll on September 2018.
Above photo by Elisha Clarke of some of our cute cattle.
This is a subject that from time to time plays on my mind and I know as I write it I will possibly have a hit put on me for not standing by my fellow females. I was born and raised on a farm and from a very early age I was never made feel I couldn’t do anything on the farm I wanted to do, I was never told I should stay inside or that a farm wasn’t really a place for a girl/woman. I went everywhere with my dad from sheep sales to shows and never did I feel I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been. As I got older more and more responsibility was given to me and I was left at times to deal with vets or cattle dealers and what I said to them stood and I was always backed by my Dad. I grew up knowing that I was equal to any man if I so chose to do a certain job from driving a tractor to lambing ewes and all the men I dealt with treated me the same.
I now live with a house of men and I still feel I am treated as an equal, I am not given any special treatment because I am female and am expected to muck in when needed as is everyone else. I am treated with the same respect as the men in the house by anyone who visits and if I happen to meet someone who is old school, and they are a few I make sure they get a little education about women on a farm before I am done with them. Now this is where I think other females are falling down and they are just feeding into the old views of females on farms, I don’t think they are helping change age old views of females on farms. The other day I saw a post on Facebook about men complaining about why do women get cheaper car insurance than men and why have they got their own company who only insure women? this person asked was this not defeating the whole drive for women to be equal? that having groups that were just for females was keeping them isolated , which I am in total agreement with.
I think in farming this isn’t any different ( sorry women ) it is great to have groups where women can meet and socialise, this I agree with but I think to be seen as an equal we need to just mix with the men to be honest, why do we need to meet as a group to talk about what we do for farming or how we are not treated equal at home/ in our community when we should actually be getting out there and going on the same farm walks as the men, going to the same conferences as the men and to local discussion groups so to be honest we become part of the furniture and no one looks twice at us.
There is an old saying in the farming community that women are only good for stopping a gap, taking down tag numbers or doing the paperwork and that is not going to change unless we show just how important those little jobs are to the running of the farm. If we didn’t stop a gap when we are asked the stock would not go where they were supposed to so our input is just as important as the person herding the stock from behind, it’s pretty hard to read tag numbers and write them down at the same time and I am sure no one wants to do paperwork after a long day outside so if we can do it then that frees up time for other jobs, so it’s time for us to show that all those tiny jobs, the ones that have been a laugh over the years are just as important to the running of the farm and should not be a joke and going to all female group meetings is not going to change how we are treated and I am pretty sure if the male farming community started their own men only groups their would be up roar.
I feel as a female in farming us women are our own worst enemy, we love to complain about not being treated equal but to be honest we don’t do much about it and I don’t think female only groups will change how we are seen but will only serve to keep us separate. The best way to change how we are treated is to start at home with your own farmer/ farmers and then start to work outside of that and eventually you will be treated no different to anyone else. We are the only people who can change how we are treated and being involved is the only way to do that, if it’s from keeping the house running, bills paid and a clean supply of work clothes to stopping gaps or milking or tag reading each is just as important to how everything else runs and a progressive farm is going to be the one where it works as a team.
So where are you going to start ?
(Photo by the main farmer, I robbed it off his twitter account)
For the next week the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account is going to be stuck listening to me, God help them all. It won’t be my first time to curate the account for a week and I will be doing it again the Wednesday of National Ploughing Championships which runs from the 19th to the 21st of September this year.
The @IrelandsFarmers twitter account is a huge source of information about all aspects of farming in Ireland from Dairy to sheep, beef to snails, honey to pigs, all you could ever want to know is shared here weekly by a different farmer. It’s a place full of statistic and numbers, profits and losses and everything in between but this week I think we will add a little girlie touch ( sorry men but you are still more than welcome to share your girlie side as well).
I love being on the farm, being involved in everything that is going on and pulling my weight the same as anyone else when it comes to work but I am not good with the technical side to it. I could go measure grass but don’t ask me to work out the end result, when the farmers here talk about machines I can understand what they are on about but don’t ask me to tell anyone else, and when it comes to DM in grass, acres to hectares, growth rates, EBI’s in cows or anything else well that’s what I have my three Farmers for.
So this coming week I would like to share the other side to the farm a little, the behind the scenes, the little things that keep the whole place running, the sometimes very over looked jobs by the women, the things that make me girlie and why I think women in farming are sometimes their own worst enemy ( I might have a hit on me after this one). All technical questions you want to know I will ask one of my three Farmers for you guys.
I will share our week, our farm and give you a very honest look at how we run our little farm and why team work is very important to us. I am planning on using my Instagram Stories to share daily clips which you will find Here so go follow now I gave up on Snapchat and if you don’t already go follow the @IrelandsFarmers twitter account so you can share your stories as well.
Looking forward to the week ahead, see you all in the morning.
Where do kids learn/hear this? I would love to know because in this day and age there is very little if anything a woman cant do. In this house its very equal, I would be expected to be able to do just about anything the farmers can do, there is never a moment when they would say you are a woman you won’t be able to do that. When there is talk of machinery I would be included the same as anyone else in the house and when something breaks it would be explained to me in as much detail as anyone else.
When we are doing any work on the farm there has never been a time when the littlest farmer has ever heard anyone say you cant do that work, drive that digger, catch those sheep, feed those calves or do that paperwork and yet he is fully convinced a girl as he says can’t do these jobs!.
A week after he was born I was back teaching horse riding and he was and has been with me everyday there is lessons since, any work that I have to do on the farm he has always been with me and has always seen me work the same as the rest of the farmers which is why I just don’t understand where he is getting this idea from. He is positive a girl can’t be a farmer, cant drive any machines, cant milk cows but we can do any work with the horses!. We are getting a farm office in the next month or so and on Sunday Sid informed us that it was going to just be for the farmers (boys) and not for me to use, when the farmer asked him why I couldn’t use it he said I wouldn’t know how to do the paperwork and he knows and sees that I am the only one who does it at the moment.
So I asked him why he thinks a woman couldn’t do all the above and his response was because your a girl. So I asked him where he was hearing all of this and he said in school which makes me sad. I am sad that when he is in school this is how women are being talked about, that this is the view young boys have of women when a lot in the school come from a farming background and even though he sees everyday that the woman in his life can and does do the same jobs as the men in his life what he hears in school is out weighing what he sees in his day to day.
I am hoping that as he grows he will change his views on what any woman can do, that what he sees will out weigh what his friends or anyone else says and maybe he will educate them. I want all my boys to see that we are equal and the two older boys are really good that way so I hope Sid will grow up to be the same.
How do you deal with things like this?
Here is what my day was like yesterday.
My day started at 6am with calf feeding.
Next was lunch making and breakfast.
Then it was time to clean up after breakfast and head to work till 2pm.
When I got home it was a very basic lunch definitely not good enough for instagram.
Next was poop scooping time before it was time to collect Sid from school.
Next was homework with Sid and some more housework and getting the supper ready.
Time to feed the horses before its time to feed us.
After we have been fed it’s back down the yard to feed the calves again then it’s inside to clean up after supper and get Sid to bed.
And relax time to chill now before bed. So that was my Thursday and if you head over to my Snapchat @ elaineslife you can see all day today.
What are your days like ? Leave a comment or Snap me and let me know.