A Tweet-Up with some lovely Farming Ladies!

As you know Waterfall Farm is on Twitter, and recently a ‘Tweet-Up’ (a meeting organised over Twitter) was organised for us ‘farming ladies’ that are on connected Twitter. It was very exciting to be involved with this meeting, with lots of planning, organisation and consultation happening in anticipation of the delicious lunch we had at Cillin Hill, in Kilkenny. Females in farming is a ‘hot topic’ nowadays and Louise Denvir from ‘RTE’s ‘Country Wide‘ and Aisling Hussey from ‘The Farmer’s Journal’ also came along and sat in on our lunch listening to the nine farming women present chat about farming, from a female perspective! This was broadcast on the RTE Radio’s Country Wide programme on Saturday the 18th of May, click on the link above to hear it. As presenter Louise Denvir explains there was a lot of talk about the term ‘Farmerette’ which was used as a hashtag so those of us on Twitter could easily follow the conversation and interact with each other.



Famerette – To Be Or Not To Be…. Called A Farmerette

Gosh, well there was a lot of discussion between the nine of us as to whether ‘Farmerette’ was an appropriate term for women involved in farming or not! Between all of us present at the lunch it was a passionate but quite civilised discussion and everyone put forward their thoughts and reasons for or against the term. Some of the ladies were for ‘Farmerette’ and gave their different reasons for that opinion. Others didn’t seem to mind too much either way. And one of us flew solo and stated that she did NOT like the term ‘Farmerette’ and gave her very valid reasons. I believe on Twitter the debate became quite passionate. But I felt that this debate was taking up too much of our time and so we moved onto discussing other farming topics that were pertinent to our individual and collective situations.


The whole day revolved around Twitter and other social media outlets and how they are used by farmers. Twitter was the reason how our meeting came about in the first place. I think that Twitter has a role in making farming accessible for people who are not farmers and don’t know anything about farming, where their food comes from or food production. We spent some time discussing this and also how Twitter could help with farmers feeling isolated, which in theory is a good and valid suggestion, but I do wonder about the Broadband coverage around Ireland.


However I am no internet expert and bow down to the wisdom of people like Lorna @irishfarmerette and Elaine @newfarmerette and Suzanna @ZwartblesIE who all make huge advances through blogging and social media to bring daily farming life to the general public. From listening to Suzanna and following her on Twitter you can see how she is making what she does with the Zwartble sheep accessible and easy to understand to the non-farming folk, as well as promoting the breed. Lorna is a whiz-kid on the aul blogging and gave plenty of insight into that, her various websites and businesses as well as all the work she does on the farm, especially during calving! Elaine hails from Co. Wicklow, like me, and struck me as a real get up and go sort of person. Herself and her husband have taken over the family farm and are diligently improving it and adding their stamp to it. They farm sheep and cattle and Elaine runs a riding school! Oh and not to mention the blog she has and the Awards she’s nominated for!


The lovely Fionnuala @fimalone1 came from a different perspective as she is very involved in animal nutrition and an expert in that area, as well as being a full-time Mum/student/farmer & wife! While horticulture was the key component in the lives of Tracy @tracydwjones and Jo @CarraghNurseries and they discussed what they have to do on a daily basis. How they use different initiatives to help boost their businesses and the challenges they face in being taken seriously as females in farming and their industry.   I really admired Jo-Ann @JoAnnMcCormish from Co. Meath who talked about how she set up her farm, from scratch in recent years. Her difficulties when taking her lambs to the abattoir, both emotionally and also she felt maybe not being taken as seriously by the other farmers there because she was a ‘farmerette’.


The lunch Cillin Hill served was superb and the Piedmontese Beef steaks supplied by Helena of @cattlenclydes were just divine! She is a real promotor of this breed of cattle and she does a great job, and she has a fabulous Clydesdale horse! Anything with to do with horses is a big plus for me, because that is my area of expertise. While anybody that knows me, knows that my farming knowledge comes from what I have learned from Michael, but I do thoroughly enjoy working and living on our Farm, running the Farm Shop and being the back-up shepherd-ess!


So I just grabbed onto the coat tails of these lovely ladies and admired all the different women in farming, because no matter what term you use to describe them they don’t shy away from hard work and certainly know their stuff in all their various and varied areas!