Abi Reader to headline UFU Women in Ag conference

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is delighted to announce that its annual Women in Agriculture conference will be taking place on Thursday, 19th October at the Greenmount campus CAFRE.
CAFRE senior dairy technologist Judith McCord, UFU rural affairs chair Denise Kelso and UFU policy officer Sarah Morell. Pic: UFUCAFRE senior dairy technologist Judith McCord, UFU rural affairs chair Denise Kelso and UFU policy officer Sarah Morell. Pic: UFU
CAFRE senior dairy technologist Judith McCord, UFU rural affairs chair Denise Kelso and UFU policy officer Sarah Morell. Pic: UFU

NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader is the headline speaker, and the theme is Farming Together for the Future.

UFU rural affairs chair Denise Kelso said: “Building upon the success of last year’s Women in Agriculture conference, we are delighted to have NFU Cymru deputy president and third generation farmer Abi Reader, speaking at the event. Abi is from a mixed farm located outside Cardiff and works in partnership with her uncle and parents.

“Abi’s farming setup ties in with the key focus of this year’s event which is Farming Together for the Future. We want to illustrate the importance of strong, working relationships within the farm business and with professionals outside the farm, who provide critical support to help keep things running.

“While only five percent of farm holders in Northern Ireland (NI) are women, this does not reflect the significant role females have on farm. A large percentage of wives, partners, daughters and nieces are heavily involved in the daily running of farm businesses working alongside family members or farming in their own right. Working together has huge benefits as it helps to address labour issues and minimises isolation on-farm as well as incorporating the next generation into the business which is vital for the sustainability of NI’s agriculture industry and the nation’s food security.

“Abi will also provide an insight into her role as deputy president, representing Welsh farmers. One of the major barriers for women in agriculture is a lack of role models but Abi is paving the way for our young farmers on and off farm. She holds one of the highest leadership positions in UK agriculture, lobbying political figures at a local, national and international level. We hope that Abi’s journey to date will enable our female farmers to recognise their own abilities and encourage more women to get involved in our policy committees.”

During the morning session there will also be a financial and legal panel with NFU Mutual financial advisor Barbara Lewsley and JPH Law partner Kate Ervine. They will be sharing their knowledge about key elements that they experience in their line of work, that farm families need to be aware of.

The afternoon session will take a practical format with sessions being delivered on the CAFRE dairy farm that are relevant to all sectors.

Encouraging young women into the sector remains a key focus for the UFU including those who are not from a farming background. Through its schools’ competition, the UFU is asking pupils to think about why it’s important for everyone to work together in the agricultural industry.

“Women in Agriculture events are extremely important to help us to keep chipping away at the cultural attitudes that still exist in farming, but sometimes, they can be misinterpreted as being solely for women when the goal is to make agriculture more inclusive for everyone. Therefore, we want to get our younger generation thinking about why it is so important for everyone to work together. This could be as simple as having a bit of company during the morning milking or someone to turn to when you need help,” said Mrs Kelso.

The Farm Families Health Checks will be attending the conference and will be carrying out blood checks. Tickets for the conference go on sale tomorrow and can be purchased using the following link Women in Agriculture Conference 2023 - Farming Together for the Future | Ulster Farmers Union (ufuni.org). The event is open to women and men.

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