What does it mean to “farm like a girl”? Some of our farmers share their thoughts:

Shanyn.jpg“If I really think about it #farmlikeagirl reminds me of the hard work my grandmother and great grandmother did as farm women, and I’m proud to be part of that tradition. We still do the dishes, cook, clean, take care of kids AND do chores which include: hauling water, hauling feed, doctoring animals, fix fence, help our husbands and help them farm too. #farmlikeagirl is serving a Thanksgiving dinner on a tailgate, in a field. #farmlikeagirl is doing what needs to be done.” –Shanyn, Grain & Feedlot Employee

5206d-img_0320“This calf was born to a Heifer (first time mom) on a cold, damp snowy Sunday morning.  I went out and the calf was laying up along the windbreaks and mom was at the bunks eating.  I was able to get mom up on the bedpack near the new calf and then got the calf up and helped him near mom to see if he would start suckling.  Mom didn’t want him to suckle, but she wasn’t mean either, so I thought I’d give them a little “alone” time to get to know each other & I’d come back and check on them.  I came back and checked and it was apparent she didn’t want the calf.  So we locked up the heifer in the chute and helped the calf suckle.  Well, it didn’t take long for the little guy to figure it out.  So every day 2-3 times a day I would go out and lock his mom up in the chute, and let him suck.  I would leave him and check on the the other cows and when he was done he would usually lay down and sleep.  This went on for over three weeks.  I had ranchers (men) tell me I was crazy and that she was never going to take him, but my determination payed off and after 3 weeks and 3 days she took him. My daughter was with me every time I would lock him up and she loved helping me.  In this picture, “Babes,” as we affectionally called him, finished suckling and decided to just wander into the pump house to check things out. My daughter absolutely loved helping me with him!  Yeah, you bet I #farmlikeagirl” – Jill, Cattle Rancher

kellie.jpg“Try not to laugh at my rockin’ hair and outfit. When I farm, I don’t care what I look like or who sees me. I wear whatever can get dirty & put my hair up to avoid accidents with machinery. I have the confidence of a movie star on the farm. I’m the prettiest girl out there! After you get done having a little chuckle, look at the 2,220 lb. animal that I’m hugging. Being a farm girl doesn’t mean that I have to do my makeup or my hair. It means caring & loving the animals that I raise. It means helping them up when they get down, scratching their backs to show them that I appreciate them. It means thinking about more than my appearance, but more about the health & safety of my animals. Leroy here was my first Hereford bull & one of the most gentle creatures I’ve ever been around. It takes a lot of trust for an animal to care for you as much as you care for them.” –Kellie, Kellie for AG

Kiersten Hoeg“Alto was new to milking string and rather skittish but she was a talker. So I sat on the ground with her, let her come to me and trust me. We traded chin scratches for kisses and someone is my new best friend. She’s the first one in and last out. I #farmlikeagirl by making sure each individual is loved on and special.”
Kiersten, D & D Double Dairies

Jenni.jpg“I farm like a girl. I wear my boots like a girl; I kick back like a girl; hang out like a girl; enjoy an afternoon like a girl; surround myself with strong women like a girl; lean on my village like a girl; let my village lean on me like a girl;take care of my friends like a girl; let my friends take care of me like a girl; I stand tall like a girl; speak the truth like a girl; and I respect and care for my animals like a girl and no matter what they may say, it’s a good thing that I farm like a girl.”Jenni, Dairy Farmer

Whitney Yager“Work a little farm a lot.  #ifarmlikeagirl everyday wearing my barn clothes proudly!! If you walk into our calf shed I will go down the rows of calves telling you each calf’s name and how they came about. Walk through the barn with me and I will point out the notable cows that have names Dozer, Ronnie, Dopey, Brutus, Smallblock, and Dora just to name a few. I have cried when a baby calf takes its last breath in my arms and screamed in joy when a favorite cow finally has her calf I have been waiting to meet!!! I am proud to #farmlikeagirl and it makes me smile to know my daughter is right by my side learning, naming calves, and gaining the greatest experiences in life being on our farm! I #farmlikeagirl with pride and can say I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world! I wear many titles each day and being called a farm girl is definitely one of the best.” – Whitney, Dairy Farmer

douglas-falls-creamery.jpg“We always look forward to spring when the lambs are born even if it means checking on the expectant sheep several extra times in a day and then before bed, once in the middle of the night and before dawn in the morning, striving to help make sure the lambs have the best chance of survival in frigid temperatures. Sometimes a ewe seems to be having difficulties so we often have to assist by sorting and turning lambs that are stuck inside. It’s always so rewarding to help successfully deliver them and make sure they latch on to the ewe. Once I spent 15 minutes resuscitating a tiny lamb that had a difficult birth and almost gave up, but she is now one of our favorite girls. We bottle-fed her after her mother decided that her other two lambs were enough. Sometimes, we have found the lambs cold enough to bring in for the night to thoroughly warm up and then have successfully reintroduced them to their mother. Each year is something different and all of us girls here at Douglas Falls Creamery wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Angie, Dairy Farmer

joanna.jpg“I deliver baby calves in the middle of the night. I milk cows early in the morning and late in the afternoon. I feed cows, yearlings and calves morning and night. I clean their pens, clean their waterers, clean their walls, clean them. I check in on them at noon and before I go to bed. I pay the bills, cash the checks, make the budgets and keep the records. I take my sons with me as much as I can so that they may learn not only the value of hard work but also the rewards and responsibility of caring for another life – many lives. I constantly plan and dream out loud with my husband about what our farm will look like in five weeks, five months and five years from now. I #farmlikeagirl.”
Joanna, Dairy Farmer

Jen Hobby“I thrive in the dirtiest, hardest, workiest, besti-EST time of the year on our farm, lambing! It’s like running a 500 bed maternity ward, 40 bed orphanage, and NICU, with about four people who operate as everything from cafeteria/custodial help to OBGYN. It’s raw, beautiful madness, and I love it. You see, farming is about mothers above all else. Yes, the baby lambs are irresistible in their adorableness. But, the mothers live with us the entirety of their lives. They are central to the farm. All of us work FOR THEM (even the dogs). Our mothers embody the beautiful, loving tenderness of motherhood in gently and attentively caring for their fragile babies-while we care for them. They demonstrate the heart-stopping courage and self-sacrifice of motherhood in fearlessly fighting to the death if necessary to defend their precious offspring from predators-so we protect them. They’ll show me the serenity and KNOWING of motherhood with the Mona Lisa smiles of late gestation, and the unique glow of pride exclusive to those who have created a beloved life-so we cherish them. I -farmlikeagirl, for my girls.And I love them.” – Jen, Sheep Farmer

jodi mcdonnell“I haven’t seen too many male farmers walking around the barn in tutu’s. That’s a great plus when you #farmlikeagirl. Obviously this picture is of my daughter, not me. The day I snapped this picture we had parlor break downs like crazy. We finished milking almost 2 hours later than normal. Everyone was in a foul mood. Emma came home from school and put a tutu on over her jeans to go to the barn. I asked her why. “Tutu’s make me happy. If I’m happy you can be to.” I think as women we often are able to see smaller things to be happy about. We appreciate small tokens and actions that can sometimes be easily over looked. A joy of taking her to the barn with me is I get to watch and help her learn how to #farmlikeagirl, just like my mom taught me!”
Jodi, Dairy Farmer

Julaine“As a farm wife and mom, #farmlikeagirl applies to my farm and family life. If I’m taking care of laundry and meals, I’m helping with farm work, like a girl. If I’m working alongside my husband, milking cows, driving tractor, feeding calves, I’m farming like a girl. If I’m in tears over the loss of one of our bovine ladies, I’m farming like a girl. Teaching our daughter the joys of hard work done well on our farm also teaches her to farm like a girl. And showing affection to our special bovine ladies, well, that shows exactly how I #farmlikeagirl: with respect, affection, and love. I’m proud to be a woman farmer and to #farmlikeagirl.”
Julaine, Organic Dairy Farmer

Darleen S.#farmlikeagirl is SO much more than just doing my job as a dairy farmer. From celebrating new calves as I watch them be born, to crying as we lay a beloved lady to rest. It’s putting my heart, body, mind and soul to work everyday to provide the best I can for my Ladies, who in turn provide a living for my family.” –Darleen, Dairy Farmer

Michelle Schitler“All of my cows and calves are important to me and it is very difficult every time one is sick. I have cried many times. If I had to break it down to one event it is probably when our oldest cow in the herd died. She had been in our herd for over 17 years. It became obvious her health was declining. She still had a great disposition and a twinkle in her eye but her body was giving out. I cried when I said my goodbyes. My husband cried when he buried her. My kids cried when they realized she would always be on the hill with a beautiful view of our farm. I even cried when I bought a big bag of bulbs from Costco to plant where she is buried. I love all my cows and calves, they are members of our family.”
Michelle, Organic Dairy Farmer 

Bekah.jpg“FarmLikeAGirl means caring for your animals with love and compassion, putting your best foot forward to do what is best for the animal, and not always the bottom line. As a former pre-vet student, and also Veterinary Technician, most Veterinarians and clients would encourage my work as a girl, because they loved how nurturing and caring we are as women, and the care, concern and gentleness that we have towards all the animals that we would work to help. In a male dominated large animal field it is still very important to care about each animal as an individual and care for them personally. As girls we do what we need to do, whether it is finding yourself shoulder deep in a cows backside, or delivering the cutest of babies, we give each animal the individual and personal care that it needs.”
Bekah, Grain & Soybean Farmer (former dairy farmer)

These responses were complied by Krista who is also proud to #FarmLikeAGirl.

Krista Stauffer

Every drop of blood, sweat & tears that goes into my family dairy farm is worth it. I cannot imagine living any other life nor could imagine a life with out my girls (aka cows).

About Jill Burkhardt

Jill Burkhardt, her husband, Kelly, and their two children, own and operate a mixed farm near Gwynne, Alberta. Originally hailing from Montana, she has a degree in Range Management from Montana State University. Jill’s agricultural passions are cattle and range management. She is a contributing writer for the Alberta Farmer Express. Jill also enjoys gardening, canning & quilting in her spare time.

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