Stephanie Shine, Adare, takes a selfie
PALLASKENRY Agricultural College student Stephanie Shine won her college round of the FRS memorial scholarship for outstanding leadership the day before there was a heated debate on Liveline about women in agriculture.
One caller said it is “very unrealistic” for a woman to run a farm and spoke of their inability to “pull calves” from a cow.
Stephanie, of the Shine family who run Samco in Adare, described his comments as “irrational”.
“I believe what I’m doing is meant for me and I always tell people if you’re good at what you do it doesn’t matter what gender you are. Being a woman working in the agricultural sector is hard but it only makes me more ambitious and work harder to prove to people that I am very competent, I get great satisfaction from doing this.
“Many people think working at home for the family business was easy, in fact it was the hardest two and a half years of employment I will ever experience. After I came home from traveling I had to prove to my four older brothers and my dad that I had what it takes.
“I was expected to know everything without things being explained or shown to me. I had to learn things quick and the hard way, it stands to me today. I had great support from my family but at the same time they pushed me to excel to the best of my abilities,” said Stephanie, who is one of seven females in a class of 75.
They all come from different backgrounds but they have in common a keen interest in agriculture and are all highly talented.
Nowadays you see and hear of many more women working as relief milkers, vets, AI technicians, sole farmerettes and many more because they have been given the opportunity to learn, and have the voice to stand up to men and show them that women can be skilful, she says.
“Yes, it goes without saying some women do not have the strength but I can assure you I have met women that would be stronger and smarter than some young men.
“Historically the predecessor would leave the farm to the ‘maybe’ capable male rather than the ‘capable’ women if the male showed even the slightest interest in farming. That infuriates me and hopefully it will change in generations to come.
“If I were to take on the journey of becoming a full time farmerette I would choose easy calving bulls so I would not need to be struggling whilst calving a cow, I would invest in machinery that could do the heavy lifting work, I would breed docile cows for safety purposes,” said Stephanie, who is delighted to see so many women working in the industry.
“I encourage all women thinking of having a career in any aspect of the agricultural industry to go with it, work hard, set yourself goals and don’t ever underestimate or sell yourself short.” Timely advice when CAO forms are being filled out.