On October 19th, Sarah Spence, the Membership and Club Development Executive of Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster (YFCU), had the privilege of participating in the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) Women in Agriculture Conference held at the Greenmount Campus, CAFRE. The 2023 conference's theme was 'Farming Together for the Future.'
The conference's keynote speaker was Abi Reader, a Welsh dairy farmer and Deputy President of NFU Cymru. Her talk, titled 'The Time is Now,' emphasised seizing opportunities and the mindset that propelled her to one of the highest leadership positions in UK agriculture. Abi discussed her role in lobbying political figures at local, national, and international levels to represent Welsh farmers. She also shed light on the 'Cows on Tour' initiative, which she co-founded to educate children about the origins of their food. Abi's presentation encouraged conference delegates to recognise their own potential. She highlighted the lack of role models as a significant barrier for women in agriculture, underscoring her role as a trailblazer for female young farmers across the UK.
Following Abi's inspiring talk, the 'Farming Families Health Checks' presentation, led by Christina Faulkner, delved into the critical topic of health and wellbeing, specifically relevant to female farmers.
The morning session concluded with a financial and legal panel featuring NFU Mutual financial advisor Barbara Lewsley and JPH Law partner Kate Ervine. They shared their insights on key aspects of their work that farm families need to be aware of. Kate presented 'The Top Five Legal and Financial Tips Every Farming Woman Should Know.' Subsequently, they opened the floor for questions, providing women in attendance the opportunity to seek information on topics such as prenuptial agreements, wills, and family dynamics.
After an enriching morning, the lunch break offered an excellent opportunity for networking and interaction with conference sponsors. Post-lunch, conference delegates actively participated in practical workshops held on the CAFRE dairy farm. These sessions covered a range of topics that are relevant to all sectors, including new technologies in agriculture, safe machinery operation, ammonia management, grassland maintenance, and fundamental principles of young stock care.
Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) would like to extend their gratitude to the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) for the gracious invitation to this empowering conference.