What started as a small event to celebrate women in agriculture has since “snowballed into a mini ploughing championship”, after large numbers asked to get involved, said event organiser Jade Fielding.
Fielding, an agri advisor, is the coordinator of the upcoming #WomenInAg event, an information and celebration day of female farmers, which is taking place at Arrabawn Co-op in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary on May 28.
Speaking to Agriland, she said, “women do not need to have a farm handed down from their father or to be working for their older brother. They can farm by themselves if they want to”.
While the free event, which will take place from 12:00p.m to 4:00p.m, will celebrate women, it will be open for everyone to attend, with Fielding describing it as “a family fun day, where there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy”.
A number of agri-influencers, including Sophie Bell; Katie Shanahan; Alice Hodges; Miriam and Rachel Hastings; Hazel Mullins; Louise Crowley; and Hannah Quinn Mulligan, will attend as guest speakers on the day.
Each will have a stand of their own where they will share advice and insights with attendees.
“Girls can go up in their own time if they want to and ask them what path did they take in their education and career, what colleges did they go to or how does a girl that doesn’t come from a farming background get started,” Fielding explained
Later in the event programme, podcaster Emma Louise Coffey will MC an on-stage discussion between the influencers, asking them to chat about their careers.
“We’ll group the girls into twos or threes; for example a dairy group or a beef group, and then bring them up on stage. Then Emma will ask them questions and get them to share their stories on stage,” said Fielding.
#WomenInAg will also welcome Gurteen College of Agriculture, which will be showcasing the educational opportunities there are for women, as well as offering information on the courses they provide.
Fielding explained that when she was organising the event, she wanted to highlight this, saying:
“I wanted to show that there’s educational opportunities out there for girls in farming. You don’t have to just work for someone else, you can go off and get your degree and walk into an amazing agri-job.”
Once Fielding began spreading the word about the event, she said it quickly expanded as many commercial groups got in touch looking to take part. As a result, while the on-stage discussion takes place indoors, there will also be an ‘agri-village’ in the car park, consisting of stalls from agricultural vendors and businesses.
Embrace Farm, the farm accident support network will be at the event as well, and will have a number of buckets around the site where attendees can make a donation if they wish.
“In the future I plan to build on this but I’ll have to get a bigger site to do that because we’re wedged this year already,” Fielding said.
Delighted with how the event is coming together, Fielding added that she is determined that #WomenInAg will continue on to become a yearly event, one which will encourage young girls to enter the world of farming.