International Rural Women’s Day is held on October 15 and recognises the invaluable contribution of rural women around the world. Gladstone News chatted with two women in the Gladstone region who embrace their rural lifestyle.

Becc Farrell – Alkoomi

Becc and her family run “Alkoomi” a small cattle farm and Farm Stay 65kms north of Gladstone. Since owning the farm Becc and her husband have had to diversify to build a business that will hopefully sustain their family in the future and reduce the need to for the kid’s Dad to source work off the farm.

“When running a cattle farm, you are dependent on the seasons and prices, tourism, on the other hand, is something that is not dependent on these elements,” Becc said. “Tourists still travel and visit even if the land is dry, people will always travel, no matter what the season,”

Becc said the family enjoys giving travellers the chance to experience farm life and see first-hand what it’s like to live on a farm. “It is very rewarding seeing the smiles on kids’ faces jumping out of the vans running over to a tyre swing or riding a horse for the first time.”

Becc grew up on properties in Western Queensland and embraced the lifestyle of living and working on the land and said that while it’s not without its challenges, it is rewarding. “You have to be a Jill of all trades and be prepared to get dirty,” she said. “I’m sure a lot of farming woman can relate when I say “something always happens when the hubby is away” like fixing a busted pipe that a camper has put a tent peg through or getting the cattle back through the fence after a dingo has spooked them into the neighbours paddock and keeping on top of general farm maintenance. Some days can be a juggle, but I would not change any of this as this is what living on the land is all about! The fresh air, wide-open space to move, being woken by the animals and birdlife in the early morning, seeing your children grow up to be capable young adults, picking up a tool from the shed and fixing a problem that arises.”

While access to the ‘outside world’ is more accessible these days, Becc explained that things are not that much different from when her Mother was on the land. “I feel we still face the same changing times, drought/floods, juggling life as a parent/wife/teacher/gardener/farmhand/offsider not just to your own family but your extended family working with you on the property.”

Lyn – Myella Farm

Gladstone News sat down with Lyn, owner and manager of Myella Farm and pop quizzed her about growing up in on the land, running a cattle farm and the best thing about being a Rural Woman and it’s making us want to visit!

What does a day on the farm look like for you? I am more of a manager so now days I do a lot more Pink jobs than I use to (pink jobs are the inside jobs that us country girls don’t like – cooking, cleaning, paper work then hopefully outside to do some blue jobs… like milking cows, checking waters, fixing fences, checking paddocks and cattle. I love riding a horse, motorbike or tractor and it is often linked with the work. By being a country girl born and breed I have a lot of skills, so I do what is needed.

What do you farm? Our farm is a 1140-hectare beef cattle farm, the land grows cattle to be sold near Rockhampton and has a great history which I find very interesting.

Tell us about the different challenges your mother faced on the land compared to the challenges that you face daily?  My mother was a good cattle and horse woman, but I don’t think her skills were acknowledged however in my mid 30’s I got the feeling that I was accepted and respected for my work. My mother just got on with things and was very resourceful and I followed in her footsteps.  My challenge is the office work is bigger than ever before!

Tell me about your roles in the business. I am owner and manager of a beef cattle farm and a tourism enterprise. I do a bit of everything from animal welfare and mustering cattle, from cooking and cleaning and all aspects of office work to marketing, hosting and communicating with guests, agents and other businesses.

What advice would you give young women looking at going into the field of agriculture?  Now more than ever the agricultural industry needs women. We are great communicators and our ability to focus on more than one task is what the agricultural sector needs. Our great work ethics and organizational skills are an asset, we have what it takes to make a successful career in agriculture.

What is the best thing about being a rural woman?  It beats living in town – there is more to do and the work makes sense, you can make a difference and be in touch with the animals, nature and the land.