Him, Her, Me and the Ladies of March

Farmers Union of Wales's picture

By Angharad Evans, Y Tir Welsh Editor

March - well, what a trying month! The "Beast from the East" and Storm Emma joined forces causing the worst weather for the UK to see for many years.

With farmers all over the country longing to see the arrival of spring to ease the lambing period, in reality, arctic winds and snow challenged farmers to their limits and lingered for a long period of time.

Although everyone will associate March 2018 with the “Beast from the East”, there was also an element of appreciation for the month. Thursday March 8 was International Women's Day and a chance to celebrate the historical contribution and achievements of women culturally, politically, economically and socially across the nations. A great opportunity to acknowlege women and men equally. A few days later, there was another celebration of women, and this time, it was all about the mothers on Mother's Day.

A special documentary starring Alex Jones was shown on S4C recently, where she asked the age-old question that has plagued mothers for years - 'Is it possible for the Welsh mother to really have it all?' 'How to balance family life and a career?’, What makes someone a good mother?'.  Why not go one step further and ask if there is a place for a farmer’s wife within that description too?

If you googled, ‘What is the definition of a farmer’s wife?' The answer given is someone who has married a farmer! But there must be more to the term than that?

The Women's Land Army was established during the First and Second World War due to to the shortage of farm labourers as the men had been called to go to the war. It was essential that the women stepped in and continued with the work of the farm to ensure that food production was maintained. These women were able to complete all the farm’s tasks while the men were away. The work included milking, looking after the stock and harvesting.

With the Land Army now only a memory of the past, the image of lady farmers has not changed that much.  The only difference now is that the wives also work away from the farm as well as looking after the family.  Instead of directly working on the farmyard, some women tend to take a more indirect role, though just as important, in the daily life of the farm.

The women often help to move animals by standing in a gap or running after a stubborn animal, cooking, a taxi service to and from here and there, collecting machinery parts or something from the vet, completing paperwork, the additional member of staff, the person who is an important part of the farm team.

This is a definition of a family farm - teamwork, where everyone is equal and everyone has their role to ensure that the farm operate as smoothly as possible, man, woman, or child.

I have been away form the Cornel Clecs desk for two weeks, and I have not crossed over to Bardsey Island or been up Snowdon this time! I have been a 100 percent farmer’s wife and been helping with the lambing at home. Indeed, everyone has their role here and we, that’s my husband, myself and the Little Lady form a family farm.

Speaking of Ladies of March, we cannot forget the most important ladies on the farm at the moment, the sheep that have been busy lambing the next crop of lambs ready to reap the benefits later in the year. Best wishes to everyone busy lambing at the moment and a quick message for the weather if it’s listening...Spring, we're more than happy to see you arrive now!

Oh and yes, is it possible for the Welsh mother to have it all, the best of many worlds!

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