What is a farm woman? According to dictionary.com “a woman who operates a farm or cultivates the land; a woman who lives on a farm.” That’s fairly straightforward.
Urban dictionary paints a more creative definition of a farm girl, “independent woman. can ride horses and four-wheeler’s. can drive anything with four wheels. loves to drive trucks and tractors. they are lovers and fighters. raised up right. can wake up at anytime of the day and can stay out all night. tears up old dirt roads and speeds down gravels. they usually have big hearts and sometimes care too much. animals are a main love in their lives. special in various ways.” Well now, that certainly paints a commanding presence!
Are these definitions reflective of today’s farm women? Depending on who you ask, “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe…”, and even a resounding, “Absolutely not!”
So what does define a farm woman in today’s world? Agriculture is ever-evolving and so are we. We are a diverse group with various backgrounds, abilities and strengths. It is no longer expected that as farm women, we only have one role, or that over the years, it has to stay the same. We can choose a job we love, a job we are good at, a job we want and do it in a way that suits our lives – whether it is on or off the farm.
There is no single, set description that encompasses us all. Whether you define yourself as a farmer, farm partner or farm wife, every position on your farm ‘team’ is important and valued.
For me, this conference has always been a celebration of our diversity and our strengths as well as a time to learn and grow. No matter my role in our farm operation, I have always felt supported, uplifted and celebrated by being here with you.
So tonight, I am honoured to propose this toast. By choosing to do what you love, you do it well. You contribute to your family, your farm, your workplace and your community in a variety of ways. You continue to learn, grow and push boundaries.
You may or may not be able to ‘drive anything with four wheels’ but I believe you have been ‘raised up right’. You may or may not be able ‘stay out all night’, but you have a big heart and care deeply. You are most definitely ‘special in various ways’.
You deal with a multitude of challenges and can adapt to change. You take nothing for granted and find the positive in every day. You inspire those around you. You are strong, capable, determined. You are beautiful inside and out.
Never doubt your abilities or your capacity to learn. Believe in yourself as others believe in you. This morning Carol Ann Fried asked, “What is your dance?” No matter your style, embrace it – and be sure to use the whole dance floor! Take Jill Officer’s message to heart and always “Go your own way!” Here is to celebrating you, and continuing to support, encourage and uplift each other on this amazing, ever-evolving journey as farm women.