Where are all the cattlewomen?
You’ll find a bunch of them in the Jackson family, working at Agribition this week from Inglis, Man. Donna Jackson and her five daughters: Erin, Tomina, Fawn, Haylan and Autumn raise purebred Charolais and Simmental seed stock for the commercial cattle industry.
“It appears to be a more male-dominated industry,” Donna said. “It’s really cool to watch these girls work together and get an animal fit and out into the show ring. It’s quite an honour as their mom and as a farmer myself.”
If you ask Fawn, while the industry does employ a lot of men, she said it’s not like women in agriculture are a new phenomenon. She said their contributions just haven’t always been recognized.
Growing up, she said her mother and father made a point to tell them they were capable of contributing anywhere on the farm.
Now a fifth-generation farmer, Fawn is also pleased with the direction agriculture is going.
“It’s really exciting to see some of the conversations going on in agriculture, about women being leaders, about the mental health discussion, just how sustainable Canadian agriculture is,” she said.
At High Bluff Stock Farm, the Jacksons have more than 200 head of cattle.
Agribition is an important occasion for them because it’s a chance to build business connections and get exposure for their product.
Then there are the competitions, where cattle get judged according to their breed and age.
Judges look for traits like healthy feet and legs, capable of travelling long distances. As well, bulk in the right places — the top line and hindquarters, where the more expensive cuts of beef are located.
Last year, the family brought seven head and won six banners.
But it’s not all business. They also take the time to connect with urban dwellers.
“We’re always looking for somebody to stop by and have a conversation about where their food comes from,” Donna said.