Women in Agriculture profile: Jayne Harkness-Bones

Place you call home:

Sunday, 27th June 2021, 1:16 pm
Jayne and sheep
Jayne and sheep

Place you call home:



Jayne and her dad

Jack of all trades, master of one… well, I have a Masters from Queens! All jokes aside, I’m the joint depot manager at Ulster Wool.

Farming commodity:

We have 85 mule ewes and two New Zealand Suffolk rams, and we keep a few store cattle. We also kept all last year’s ewe lambs, they are now stunners of hoggs.

How did you become involved in farming?

Jayne and dog.

I was born into it.

Earliest farming memory:

Waddling down the yard at about three years of age, trying to carry a bucket between my very short legs.

What personal characteristics did you develop from agriculture?

Always try your best, work hard and keep smiling.

Life lesson you learnt from farming:

Less is said soon is mended. Always expect the unexpected, anything can be fixed with some baler twine, and pallets can be made into anything.

What do you enjoy most about the farming lifestyle?

Being out and about, every day brings a new challenge. Thinking of new ways to get around things and that every day is a school day - you never stop learning.

Describe a farmer in three words:

Kind. Hardworking. Creative.

What would you like the public to know about NI farming?

That the standards of farming in Northern Ireland are amongst the best in the world. With approximately 24,7000 registered farm businesses here, it is a hidden sector that many don’t notice!

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

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t do something the same way forever just because ‘that’s how it’s always been done’, you could save so much time and effort by doing something differently. Also, drink plenty of water!

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

Go for it! Don’t delay as I waited too long to get started, but having said that, better late than never. I just recently completed the agricultural business operations level two course at CAFRE, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I was able to attend one evening a week and continued to work full-time and farm with dad.

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

With the amount of young people I know that are connected to and interested in agriculture, I have every faith that the future of farming is in very safe hands.

The use of technology is such an integral part of everyday life now, I would hope that the barrier between more traditional farming methods versus more modern (in regard to record keeping and general farm data), has been broken down a bit over the last number of years.

The vast majority of us have smart phones and that’s a start, but it’s still hard to beat a pencil (pens won’t work very well if your hands are dirty) and paper as phones can break.

Thank goodness for data backup!