Tanya Robbins - Innovative women in today’s Agriculture
I farm in partnership with husband Tom on a tennanted farm of 150 acres in Gloucestershire. We also rent 250 acres of seasonal grazing for our 500 Easycare/Lleyn ewes and grow stubble turnips & fodder beet for finishing the lambs. These crops are followed by spring barley. The farm is in Entry Level stewardship and we are currently talking to our landlord in the hope of taking the farm into Higher Level Stewardship. We have two daughters, Lucy & Hannah, who are a huge help on the farm, especially during lambing. They will soon be having two North Cotswold hound puppies for walking.
I assist my father on his farm two days a week and have been passing over my responsibilities there to my sisters in readiness for my travel. Locally I am vice chair of Gloucestershire NFU, on the South West NFU Livestock Board, a RABI Glos committee member, Foundation governor of Temple Guiting Primary school and help with our local agricultural show at Moreton-in-Marsh.
Gloucestershire Farmers Trust kindly gave me a grant to attend the 2012 Challenge of Rural Leadership course run by The Worshipful Company of Farmers and I am truly thankful to Central Region Farmers Trust for being my Nuffield sponsor.
'Innovative Women In Today's Agriculture'
I realised that locally successful, forward thinking family farms are, on the whole, driven forward by the women of the family, especially diversified businesses. My female forebears have worked so hard all their lives on the family farm with very little recognition or thanks so I am always keen to meet women who do have the recognition. Why can't girls inherit the family farm? There is no law against it in this country but the usual route is for a son to inherit the land, therefore I am looking to meet women who are the driving force behind their family businesses and women in charge of major agri related businesses/farm unions. I want to encourage girls that farming is a wonderful career and for families to realise their daughters are more than capable of running the family farm.
I plan to travel to Isle of Man, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Kenya, Uganda & India to hopefully meet Grainne Dwyer, NSch, Tove Andersen, Judy Shaw, Professor Theresa Sengooba and Naina La Kidwai amongst others. We tend to forget how much we have in the developed world and I am looking forward to meeting and learning from women farmers in emerging nations. To be able to talk to Young Farmers & schools about farming in Africa, India & the develped world with first hand knowledge is an aim as well as taking a hard look at our own farm business. If our daughters want to farm do we have a thriving business to pass on?