Women in agriculture profile featuring Grace Doherty

Grace DohertyGrace Doherty
Grace Doherty
​Place you call home: Garvagh, Co. Derry.

​Occupation: Fifth year at Saint Conor College, Clady. I am studying GCSE agriculture and hope to progress to CAFRE in September to pursue level two agriculture.

Farming commodity: I am currently farming at home. We are running a suckler herd of pedigree Charolais and finishing Belgian Blues. I also work on a neighbouring dairy farm, milking cows and rearing calves, and have part time hours in the local veterinary clinic.

How did you get involved in farming?

Grace Doherty with one of her calvesGrace Doherty with one of her calves
Grace Doherty with one of her calves

It’s been part of my life since birth, I don’t really know anything different. My granda had me with him out on the farm before I could walk! I have always had a very strong interest in the farm, and it has remained this way. I have learnt everything I know from my granda and uncles.

Earliest farming memory?

My earliest farming memory would be helping my granda at lambing time, feeding pet lambs that were nearly the same size as me!

What personal characteristics have you gained from agriculture?

Personal characteristics that I have gained through agriculture include a hard work ethic and determination. I have become caring and compassionate, and very dependable.

I can also say I have developed a strong backbone. You can’t shift cattle and sheep with family without one!

My time management is also a good quality which I have improved, especially when it comes to milking and the importance of time specific tasks.

Life Lesson you learned from farming:

My biggest life lesson would be that farming can still be seen as a male dominated profession. If you are determined and work hard at it, anyone can do it. Women should not have to work twice as hard as the men to prove their worth in farming.

What do you enjoy the most about the farming lifestyle?

What I enjoy the most about the farming lifestyle is how family oriented it is, everyone can be involved from the youngest to the oldest. I also don’t know any other job where neighbours and friends come and help and support each other. Everyone understands each other and has each other’s back.

Describe a farmer in three words: Hardworking, determined, dedicated.

What would you like the public to know about Northern Ireland farming?

I would like the public to know how committed farmers are to their animals and how quickly they access care for them, and how well they are looked after.

If you could give farmers/farming families/farming community one piece of advice, what would it be?

A piece of advice I would give is to look after your physical and mental health as they are so important. It is the one thing that is ignored in the farming community as there is always something else deemed “more important “in the farmer’s eye, but a farm can’t run itself.

What would you say to others who are considering a career in the agricultural industry?

I would tell them to go for it, as there are many opening opportunities in this amazing sector. The opportunities are so wide and varied and there will always be something for someone.

What are your hopes for the future of Northern Ireland’s agricultural industry?

My hopes would be that more women continue to join the industry and that farmers are fairly paid for the work and effort they put in on a day-to-day basis.

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