Facing our Fears to Make our Dreams Come True

March 24th, 2016

Over the next week, the Farmers’ Voice blog will be featuring the essays of the winners of the Dairy Farmers of Canada Advancing Women Conference West contest. Women from the four Western provinces were asked to write a short essay about one of two topics : 1) the biggest impediment to women entering the world of farming and how have you overcome this, or 2) What is the biggest issue facing the agriculture sector today.

Society leads us to believe that farming is typically dominated by men. This creates more odds against women farmers. I think the fear of failure is one of the biggest obstacles facing women that are entering farming.

As a farming woman, we have added pressures we put on ourselves when we choose to begin our career in agriculture. We need to succeed to prove to society that farming isn’t just a man’s industry. This added pressure not only fuels our drive to be successful, while doing the best possible job; but it creates a determination to prove to yourself you can succeed in spite of the cultural standard. The added pressures of society’s views, if not put into proper perspective, can lead to an insurmountable obstacle for many women. The fear of failing can be immobilizing. In my opinion, without taking a risk of entering the world of farming, a person will miss out on some of the most amazing opportunities. The lifestyle and meeting some of the finest people are just a couple of the advantages of farming.

As a single woman owner operator of my own dairy farm, I believe a woman can do just as good of a job as a man can. We are all humans who make mistakes and have fears of failing, but when we do, we hope to learn from those mistakes, move forward and try again.

Believing in yourself, being able to ask for help, having a strong business plan and working hard all help to overcome the doubts of failure. I build confidence with each year by having support, setting goals, making decisions, learning from mistakes, making payments and celebrating small achievements. These small achievements prove to myself that I can run a successful dairy farm, even if the odds are against me. Investing in the Canadian supply management system gives me stability and security. As a management decision, putting my herd on DHI lets me know where my herd’s milk production is and benchmarks my farm against other farms. Achieving top management scores and high BCAs helps me to know I’m on the right track and keeps me operating efficiently. Classifying my cows with Holstein Canada verifies that I am breeding the right type of cows that are functional and will last a long time. Surrounding myself with other successful farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists, and accountants can only help me by gaining knowledge from their expertise. Using the tools available and surrounding myself with the right resources, helps to reassure me that I am being efficient and successful. Cows are my passion. Being able to make a living working with cows is priceless.

Making mistakes and failing is all a part of life. Overcoming the fears, taking risks and being part of this farming world can make dreams come true!

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