Wanda Tilson is the farm manager at J & J Campbell farm. Her parents are her business partners, and her role is extensive describing it as ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’
How did you get involved in farming?
I was born and brought up in the farm business and with livestock. My grandparents started the farm off, so I am the third generation, and I am carrying that on.
Have you noticed progress and change towards gender balance during your career in farming?
I think women in agriculture are becoming more common, there are other sectors that are perhaps worse off in this regard. More women are in hands on roles nowadays and livestock has a better affinity with women. Although the most common pathway into this type of career for a female is through family or inheriting a farm, there are more women actively choosing and seeking out careers in agriculture. I have noticed a lot more women in sales roles within the industry which is positive!
Have there been any barriers or challenges in your career due to being a woman? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
In some business dealings I’ve found that when action is required, it often takes a man to get things done or people look to speak with a male. Business is business and it can be fairly ruthless sometimes. I’ve learned as time went on to speak up and feel more confident in dealing with these things myself and getting my voice heard.
What advice would you give to younger women looking to work in agriculture?
Get yourself recognised and get out there to meet likeminded people. Make use of the agricultural shows, open days and seminars. Get out and about, there will be lots of farms that would welcome visits and be keen for females to get more involved.