Women working in leading roles in grain businesses have urged young women to seriously consider the variety of roles available in the agricultural industry
Eveey Hunter and Sarah Howesman have built a solid friendship working together in what can still be seen as a male-dominated sector.
Growing up on the family farm in Hertfordshire, Ms Hunter developed a passion for grain farming and now manages crop activities and diversification on the farm as well as assisting with harvest.
Ms Hunter, aged 26, said farming was all she had ever known.
"I’ve always loved being in a farm setting and feel extremely privileged to play a part in the supply of a life-sustaining commodity,” she said.
“It’s a perfectly natural way of life to me and I can’t imagine working anywhere else. Grain farming is in my blood; it’s the future and where I’m meant to be".
But when her father learned she wanted to follow in the family footsteps, he tried to dissuade her.
"Dad wasn’t sure if it was the right career path for me and wanted to be sure I wasn’t making a mistake, but this made me even more determined to join the business as I couldn’t stand by watching him take the pressure of running everything almost single-handed,” she said.
She added there was no way he could have deterred her as she loves every day.
As part of her role she facilitates the sale of grain to the farm’s agricultural commodities client Cefetra which then sells them on to customers across Europe.
And building a relationship with the buyer led her to meet Ms Howseman, her opposite number in Cefetra’s Lincolnshire office.
“We share so much in common, including a mutual passion for grain growing - the likelihood of which is probably very low,” Ms Hunter said.
"Whilst I love my family, working with men all the time can get a bit intense and nothing beats a girly laugh and work banter with another female in a male-dominated industry."
Ms Howseman, based in Lincolnshire deals directly with the firm’s grower customers.
And she said before she met Ms Hunter there was no one who understood her love for her job.
"Being a farm manager is in the family - both my granddads and dad managed farms and like Eveey, I can’t imagine doing anything else and want to be part of the future of sustainable farming,” she added.
Ms Howseman, who is studying at Harper Adams University and works at Cefetra during holidays, said they had a great relationship both to support and learn from each other as well as discussing the intricacies of grain farming.
"It’s like going forward together in a partnership which not only complements our own mental well being, but enhances the relationship between our respective businesses,” she said.
Both women agreed there was much more opportunity in farming than driving a tractor or milking cows in an industry such as technology and science.
And with International Women’s Day today (March 8) Ms Hunter believed it was the ideal time to encourage women to consider farming as a serious career option.
"Brexit has given us more opportunities to develop and support UK and local farming and agriculture communities, and what we sell is unique.
“We’ve moved forward a lot and farming offers a highly rewarding future, mentorship and lifelong inspirational friendships for women worldwide. I wouldn’t be without Sarah for all the grain in the world.”