THE Ulster Farmers’ Union has announced it will host its first women in agriculture conference aimed at recognising the contributions of women working in Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.
The free event will take place on November 15 at CAFRE Greenmount Campus.
UFU rural affairs policy committee chairperson Jennifer Hawkes said: “Women have always played a crucial role in farm businesses and in the wider agriculture industry. However, with farming being seen historically as predominately male-led the aim of this conference is to raise the profile of women working in agriculture and the valuable contributions they make.”
The event offers a packed programme and an impressive line-up of speakers. Keynote speakers include Hannah Jackson, aka the Red Shepherdess from Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins; and Joyce Bannerman-Campbell, a sheep farmer from Sutherland, Scotland and co-chairperson of the Scottish government’s Women in Agriculture Taskforce. Both will offer their own perspectives on the contributions of women to agriculture and share ideas on how to ensure opportunities enabling more women to join the industry are developed and capitalised on.
Mrs Hawkes said: “The UFU is delighted to welcome Hannah and Joyce, and they will be joined by a number of other women sharing their experiences of working in agriculture. This conference is for everyone with an interest in furthering the contributions of women in agriculture, however, we are especially keen to see women who are working on farms or in the industry attending. This is an event not to be missed and I would encourage those interested to book early.”
Conference speakers also include: Rhonda Geary, Operations Director for RUAS; Deirdre O’Shea, Executive Director for Agri-Aware; Jo-Anne Dobson of Kidney Research UK; and Zita Blair, YFCU president. Chef Paula McIntyre will also be cooking up some local seasonal dishes and the conference will be compered by Ruth Sanderson from BBC’s Homeground programme.
The UFU recently launched an exciting new partnership with Women in Business (WIB) and there will be an opportunity to hear more about this at the conference from WIB Chief Executive, Roseann Kelly, and WIB member Tracy Hamilton.
“The Women in Business partnership is an exciting development for us. Our hope is that through training and WIB support, more women will become involved in our committees and policy structures,” said Mrs Hawkes.
n Booking for this free conference is essential. Visit www.ufuni.org to book your place or for more information contact UFU HQ on 02890 370 222.