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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

The Agrifac Faux Paus

With a female NFU President, an all-female NFYFC Council and the number of women getting involved in farming on the rise, 2019 looks like it could be a really promising year for women in agriculture. However, we’re not even two weeks into 2019 yet (Happy New Year by the way!) and there has already been a lot of controversy about the way women are seen in the Agricultural industry.

LAMMA took place last week, always a popular event in many farmers’ calendars, and I’m sure many of you will have seen the discussion caused by the Agrifac stand, in particular, the two PR girls hired by them to promote and draw attention to the company – and they did just that. The buzz generated by this advertisement tactic has seen a huge response from people in the farming industry and outside of it but not a particularly positive one. There have been lots of people reminding us that it’s the girls’ choice to be there promoting the company in that way and I’m not one to knock down anyone – male or female – that is trying to break into the agricultural industry. However, I don’t honestly think that Agrifac had them there to promote the work that women do in farming and represent that sector of the industry and if they were it definitely wasn’t the way to do it. 

Personally, I see it as extremely outdated to have scantily clad cheerleaders in cheap Go-Go dancer boots fronting the stand and this definitely segregates women from the employees at Agrifac who I’m sure were there to answer technical enquiries and do the real selling and promotion. Perhaps Agrifac had some women also working on the stand that were available to discuss the products however this has definitely not been seen by the media – in my opinion missing a great opportunity to promote diversity and modern thinking. 

Women absolutely have the right to have any career they wish, and with that wear anything they want and I support the choice of the girls to follow this career, I just think it was a tacky way for Agrifac to promote machinery at an agricultural event and the attention generated didn’t show farming in its best light. As many other industries are making a great effort to move away from this way of objectification to gain attention it may reflect poorly on the agricultural industry at a time when we need all the positive attention and support we can get.

Simply put, I think that Agrifac missed out on an opportunity to make some changes and support the future of Ag and those involved in it and although they may have gained a lot of media exposure, myself and I’m sure many others will now remember their name as one that is not moving with the times.

On a bigger scale… 

Did you know: 

– Female farmers are 8% of the world’s population

– In developing countries only 10-20% of landowners are women

– In most countries the share of women with small farms who have access to credit is 5-10% lower than for men which makes it harder for women to buy fertilisers

– Women are less likely to own large farm animals 

– Closing the gender gap could increase yields in developing countries by up to 4% – potentially reducing the number of undernourished people by 130 million

This is why it is so important to support women in farming and encourage new entrants – in all countries. If we start by fixing the small problems the bigger ones will come next.

*This was not meant to belittle or disrespect anyone and I apologize for any offence caused I merely wanted to share my opinion!

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