The one in which I go into a feminist rant

Throughout my relatively short life on the farm there are two main stereotypes I have heard and had to deal with. One: dairy farming is a cruel industry, and two: it’s a man’s job. I might come back to the first one because I talk about that a lot, but today I’m choosing to focus mainly on the second one.

As a woman in the dairy industry I sometimes find the second stereotype to be even more annoying than the first one. I’m not sure what it is that made me think a lot about this lately but it seems to continually come up and weigh on my mind in these past few days. But maybe it’s just the fact that I have yet to post on this topic that made me think that now is the correct time to do it.

There are many things over the last few years about why women shouldn’t be farmers. The biggest one is that it’s a “man’s job” because women can’t handle the “hard stuff”. It’s either that or when women want to be farmers their immediately labeled a tomboy or assumed to be a lesbian. I’m not saying that being a lesbian is a bad thing because I don’t think that at all and many of my friends are or a member of the LGBTQ community.

But that is off subject a bit. As a woman who is definitely a tomboy but not a lesbian I find every single stereotype about women farmers to be annoyingly stupid. As someone who has also been a feminist for a very long time I find basically every single stereotype annoying. Another aspect that continually comes up is that a straight woman farmer needs to have a boyfriend or get married so they’ll have a man to help them do that stupid “hard stuff” that I mentioned before. I have never had a boyfriend in my life, through nothing but my own choice. And I may never have one or get married because I don’t know if that is what the future holds for me or not and because unlike another stereotype that comes up not just in farming but in everything a woman’s life should not revolve around a man or being in a relationship.

Whenever I tell someone at college that I plan on taking over the farm after I graduate I always get a slightly surprised reaction no matter who I tell. It is probably because I am going to college for creative writing and not at an agricultural school but I’m sure my being a woman is unconsciously a part of it too. Because it’s a man’s job that still to this day some people think only a man can do.

The idea of something being a man or woman’s job is ridiculous to me. I firmly believe a person should be able to do the job and career they want without being judged or having things assumed about them because of that type of label. Why shouldn’t I as a woman be a farmer, and why does that have to be so uncommon? Because of the hard stuff that I keep mentioning?

Let me tell you about this hard stuff that I supposedly can’t handle. I can lift grain bags that weigh up to fifty pounds. It can be a struggle but I can do it. And if I can’t do something like that I figure out a way that I can. But that’s not the hard stuff I hear about the most. What I hear most is about the emotional hard stuff.

When I was thirteen years old my first cow died. She was nine months old and while I did not actually see her body after I saw her the day before and it’s something I will never forget. When I was sixteen on the way home from a bowling match I got a call telling me my cow that was having a calf that night had the calf that was born dead. A few months before on our alpaca farm we had an alpaca die for the first time. That was the first dead body I ever saw. And about one month after the cow had the calf that was born dead, the cow had to be taken away because if we had waited one more day she would no longer have been able to stand. She died on the trailer. And when I was eighteen nine days after my newest calf was born she died and we still don’t know why. And just last year my third cow that I ever had and that I loved for five and a half years died. Not to mention the other pets I have that I’ve lost. All this and I only stopped being a teenager last year. So you tell me, what exactly is the hard stuff that I can’t handle?

On Minorities

Milking cows in 90 degree weather is so much fun! Said no Northern East Coast dairy farmer ever. But anyway, if you watch the news lately and you are aware about the terrible things that are happening in America right now, specifically with Mexican families. So this gave me the idea to talk about minorities today and how much the dairy industry really relies on them. Not specifically on our farm, but on many other neighboring farms that I’ve been on or have friends that own them there are plenty of immigrant workers, and from what I’ve seen they are probably some of the nicest people along with the most hardworking people ever. The minority I know the most about me being one myself, is being a woman in what is more commonly a male-dominated industry.

In more recent years women have begun taking over their family farms or helping out in whatever way they feel comfortable doing. But in some places it is still common for someone to look for the man when they enter a farm instead of thinking that the woman would be in charge or have any idea about what was happening in the barn. I’ve also seen it apparent in both my high school FFA and 4-H when as I participated year after year and saw more and more girls become leaders and officers. I never thought anything about it until I talked to people around town or others that I knew and they thought that it was really exciting. That was when I began to realize how different it was that women were getting into farming and agriculture, and how great it was that current generations are starting to change that. There’s a lot of stigma and bad things happening with the dairy industry and people are beginning to wonder how much longer it’ll last. Well I’m here hoping my generations and generations after me will change that.

The Truth from a Dairy Farmer

In the world today there are many problems with the dairy industry. From losing money and the price of milk going down, to having to get rid of the farm all together, it seems like things continually get worse. And a lot of the time the problems are helped along by wrong thoughts, ideas and beliefs. But in many places farms are continuing on, despite all the hardships. I’ve been helping on my family dairy farm since I was in the eighth grade, and that was when I decided I wanted to be the one to take it over. Even though I plan on doing this, I also plan on writing my own stories and becoming a published author. Last year was my freshman year of college and when I told my new-found friends, professors, and bosses what my plan for my life was it was always met with surprise. It wasn’t a bad surprise, it was just that most of the time people wondered why I was in college when I was going to take over the farm, especially since I am a woman, and that I am also going to spend my time writing too. So that is my hope by starting this blog and telling stories I have seen with my own eyes and experienced myself I will hopefully remove some of the wrong ideas the world has about the dairy farming, and hopefully will make it less of a surprise for someone, specifically a woman, to be a dairy farmer and also an author.