We caught up with Laura from @girlaboutthefarm to find out more about women in the farming industry.
What made you decide to give up your career in marketing to take on a farm. Was it a difficult decision to choose this life for yourself?
I had been working in marketing for just under 10 years and I loved it, but I was leading a sort of double life at times due to working in the day and then coming home to Andy’s family farm (my now husband) in the evening to feed our pet pigs, take the dogs for a walk and help out with the sheep and cows! Most weekends were spent helping Andy on his parents farm and I loved it so much! At lambing I would book time off my full time job to help and when we saw this long term tenancy on The Cowdray Estate was up for tender I made the decision, that if we were successful that I would make the leap into full time farming alongside Andy! It was too good an opportunity for us not too!
What do you notice about being a woman in agriculture that’s different from your male counterparts?
This a tough one. Women have been farming alongside men for years gone by and they have played a vital role in farmlife. I’m lucky to have come into farming where there are more and more young females going into farming in their own right and not because of their families heritage. I think thats great, as, like in every industry, we need an equal balance as every individual brings new ideas to the table.
Do you think there’s more that could be done to encourage women to consider farming as a profession?
Yes, it saddens me to think that I would have never got into farming if it weren’t for Andy, as actually, farming as a practical career really suits my skills. It wasn’t an option that was ever presented to me at school – it was a career that you did if your family were farmers. I think more needs to be done to promote farming as being a really great career choice – no matter your background or what sex you are.
You’re very active on social media. What made you decide to incorporate social media into promoting your operation and telling the story of being a farmer?
It just sort of evolved really, I started my blog as a way of documenting what I was up to on a daily basis for my friends and family to read, as they didn’t really have a clue – and why would they?! Then people started engaging and I realised that people loved to see what we were up to on a daily basis, whether it be moving large mobs of sheep up on the hill with the dogs – or feeding the cows. Social media became a way that I could easily share what we were doing each day and then just became second nature.
Do you have any advice for young women contemplating a career in agriculture?
I would say, get out there and get experience – I can guarantee that most local farmers will always be looking for some help/someone to take on for work experience. Keep your enthusiasm and determination because it will pay off! Some of the best farmers I have met are first generation farmers, namely my in laws actually who started the sheep business from scratch – my mother in law worked in a bank back in the day – and during lambing, there is no one I would rather take advice from! She’s the best in her field (excuse the pun!).
You have recently announced your pregnancy on social media – congratulations! Will you encourage your child to follow in your footsteps?
Thank you, we are thrilled! A farm is just the best place for a child to grow up around – and I’m so excited to raise our children in the countryside! We’re happy for our children to make their own minds up! I wouldn’t care if they wanted nothing to do with the farm, but if they did, then that would be lovely too! Every farmers son or daughter I’ve met talks so fondly about growing up on the farm – and most of them still have involvement in their family farms now to this day – even if not full time!
A huge thank you to Laura for catching up with us and giving such a great insight into the farming industry. Make sure to check out her blog – Girl about the farm and Instagram @girlabouthefarm for more brilliant photos and stories from the farm.
Photos by the talented Kerry Jordan (@fur_and_fables)