Australia: Lesbian farmers breaking down barriers

Image courtesy of Sarah Ward

Karyn Cassar and Carissa Wolfe operate one of just seven certified organic dairy farms in New South Wales, on a 190-hectare property at Hannam Vale on the Mid North Coast. That’s not the only thing that makes this female-farming duo unique, they are also openly gay and have been so for 21 years. “We don’t know any other female couples that run a commercial dairy operation in the world,” Carissa said. …

Being different can be difficult
The biggest challenge the couple face as female farmers is people’s confusion surrounding gender roles on the farm, not their same-sex relationship.

“Just as female farmers we are always questioned,” Karyn said.

“[People have said] ‘well how are you going to lift fence posts?'”

The pair say they were once asked if they owned a quad bike, which they didn’t at the time, and felt it implied they were not capable of running the farm without one.

But that certainly isn’t the case at Benmar Farm, where the pair manage 130 heifers and produce 7,000 litres of milk each week for their local community.

“We get it done, as women we just have to work smarter, not harder,” Karyn said. …

Being female benefits the business
Carissa and Karyn believe as women they approach farming differently and that they incorporate a range of different skills and experiences they’ve gained from previous jobs.

“I think being a female-only managed farm, we definitely bring a different perspective to the way that we farm and different techniques,” Carissa said.

“In terms of the animal engagement, there’s a different interaction with the cows.

“With my background as a mum, but also a lactation consultant and as a doula, those are all things that come into the way that I interact with the cows knowing that they’re also a lactating mammal that’s gestating and having babies and all part of that cycle.”

Their philosophy is to care for and nurture their animals like individuals, treating their milk like a reciprocal gift.

Continue reading at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-29/lesbian-dairy-farmers-breaking-barriers-in-regional-nsw/100248972?fbclid=IwAR2_NdTRE6icJgJnXd2UQw0c2MwcDBLs-jWr_QQspBeen6CZPq39Pk8YL-s (Source)

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