A new Dumfries and Galloway group for women who contribute and play key roles in the dairy industry, held its inaugural meeting this week.
The Dumfries and Galloway Dairy Women Network, which is supported by NFU Scotland, was launched at last month’s Stewartry Show, with a strong turnout of women who work, manage and undertake roles within the dairy sector.
The network is open to all those women involved in the dairy industry, from farmers’ wives, partners, daughters and vets to feed nutritionists, dairywomen and milk recorders.
Tracey Roan, a dairy farmer at Boreland of Colvend, Dalbeattie, and founder of the Dumfries and Galloway Dairy Women Network, commented: “I have often felt that within the dairy industry there is a lack of practical hands-on training for women who have married into the industry and have taken on roles on the dairy farm or for those who want to get into the industry.
“The terms “its aye been done that way” and “my way is the best way” isn’t always the case and if women could access training and information more easily, they could become more involved in the business and its improvements, as old ways won’t open new doors.”
The need for the network was highlighted in the recent findings of the Women in Farming and Agriculture Sector research from the Scottish Government, which identified a need for easier access to, and uptake of, practical training.
Currently, this can be very difficult with many women juggling careers away from the farm, raising young families, working full time, book-keeping, and any other farm related jobs that demand and take up their free time.
Tracey Roan added: “Our first meeting was a taster session of what could be offered.We are hoping that ideas and suggestions will flow from women who are the backbone to many dairy farming businesses within Dumfries and Galloway.”
As well as meetings, the network will be hosting events such as field days, will hear from industry speakers and will be utilising social media.
Teresa Dougall, NFU Scotland Regional Manager for Dumfries and Galloway, commented: “The Union is delighted to support the Dumfries and Galloway Dairy Women Network and work alongside Tracey and dairy women in the region to build a stronger network and support platform for those working within the industry.
“It has been encouraging to already see an appetite for this group and we look forward to attending its first meeting in September, providing any support the group may need.”