Annabel Hamilton is a farmer at W B Hamilton & Sons. After studying farm management and working down South she returned home to work in the family business. 

How did you get involved in farming?  

I was brought up on a mixed farm in the Scottish Borders, and after a few years away working in farm management in Lincoln and Northumberland I have now moved home to begin the succession process. It all started with harvest employment during the summer holidays when I was at University, I loved driving the big machinery and being outside! And from there I decided to go into farm management. 

For International Women’s Day this year's theme is #BreakTheBias - why do you think this is important in agriculture?  

We all have the ability to look at situations in different ways, we also all have a mixture of skills. A mix of males and females in the workplace creates a good balance, and this produces beneficial results. With the shortage of labour becoming a major challenge in UK Agriculture it has never been more important to encourage all young people into the industry. Everybody deserves a chance! 

Have you noticed progress and change towards gender balance during your career in farming?  

Progress and change – Yes. Balance – No. From when I started in Agriculture there has definitely been an increase in women involved in the industry, but the balance is not there in the workplace. You only have to attend any agricultural meeting and the gender gap speaks for itself. We have to focus on the positives which are that there are more women taking on agricultural roles within many different businesses – this is exciting and a step in the right direction! 

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? 

I have always felt well respected and never out of place. For me, it is not your gender that makes you good at your job. It’s your enthusiasm, commitment and passion! Any challenges I have faced have been overcome by being confident and knowing that I am happy in what I do! 

What advice would you give to younger women looking to work in agriculture? 

There are so many different avenues of agriculture which is what makes it so exciting! With technology moving forward and new challenges facing us all the time one day is never the same. Advice:  

  • Research different agricultural business and the roles within in them 
  • Find a mentor – there are many people (both men and women) who are more than willing to help young people enter the industry 
  • Be confident and never feel out of place 
  • Enjoy being involved in an industry which is adaptive, challenging, and forward thinking