To make the most of our membership coming together at the Royal Highland Show, Women in Agriculture Scotland (WiAS) hosted another breakfast – after the success of last year’s event – on the Thursday (22 June). A sell-out event, the breakfast brought together over 200 guests from across Scotland.
The event was kindly supported by the Scottish Government and aimed to provide attendees the opportunity to hear from two cracking speakers, improve their confidence and skills, create a network of new contacts to support them with their endeavours, and enable them to continue to positively contribute to Scotland’s rural economy.
This year’s theme was Overcoming Adversity in Agriculture and welcomed an incredible line-up of speakers.
Mike Duxbury, founder of Inclusive Farm, shared his inspiring story and detailed how he is creating a space where anyone can find a career in agriculture.
“My own personal experience as a totally blind person has given me the drive and passion to conceive this project and strive to see it to fruition. I lost my sight completely when I was only 6 years old, however against all odds; I knew that I wanted a life and career in farming. Whilst I was realistic in knowing that I would have some limitations I was determined to find out how I could attain my goal.
“Having been accepted into Warwickshire College of Agriculture, as the first ever blind person, I found my niche with my love of pigs. As most pigs are farmed on an intensive basis in units I found I could navigate and work alone with no restrictions. I then proceeded to gain all the certificates that I could, including my pig craftsmanship and AI (Artificial Insemination) Certificate and my Degree in animal nutrition. Once I left college I secured a job as a feed specialist with a national animal feed company.
“This was where my life and career advanced to include many areas of the pig industry. Thirty years later my love for agriculture is still as strong. Having had jobs in other industries, living my life as a blind person, I can say to this day that the farming industry had never shown me any discrimination at all.
“During this time of my life I met some amazing people, who along the way inspired me. This is the experience that I wish to pass on to other disabled people and people with special needs, to show them that differences need not be a barrier to a goal or dream in farming and agriculture.”
The second speaker, Milly Fyfe, spoke about her personal journey in agriculture.
Milly is an award-winning marketing, PR, events and fundraising specialist, providing digital marketing support to food and farming businesses, helping to reach out and connect with a targeted audience or customer base.
An anchor woman and spokesperson, Milly represents and supports numerous farming organisations and charities including Ladies in Beef, The Farm Safety Foundation and The Farming Community Network.
Milly and her husband Andrew farm beef suckler cattle, sheep, arable crops and a few rare breed pigs with their two young children Angus and Dougie in rural Northamptonshire.
Milly writes and contributes to several publications including the Daventry Express, Rugby Advertiser and BBC Radio Northampton.
A Love British Food ambassador since 2012, Milly is passionate about flying the flag for British Food and Farming and gave a reading at Westminster Abbey during the National Love British Food harvest service.
During the height of the pandemic, Milly established a food blog called No Fuss Meals for Busy Parents, helping to make a connection between food grown in the UK and how to make tasty meals the whole family can enjoy. From there the podcast ‘The Countryside Kitchen meets’ was created, interviewing farmers and food producers about what they grow or raise, where people can buy and how they can transform those ingredients into a tasty meal.
Women in Agriculture Scotland will be hosting more events throughout the year to encourage new members and improve skills, networks and confidence. For more information, visit www.womeninagriculturescotland.com