Sandra Maher: farming is second nature to the Thurles woman
The role of women on farms has changed dramatically over the past few years with more and more women throughout Ireland taking up both part time and full time roles on the farm.
Farming as an occupation is becoming more popular among women with a lot of them also opting to study agriculture in college.
Gone are the days where farming was seen as an occupation only for men.
FRS actively encourages women to apply for farming roles that we have based throughout the country.
In recent times, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of job applications coming through from women and are delighted to have women working as workers with us on farms all over the country.
Sandra Maher from Thurles is a full time worker with FRS.
Sandra started working with FRS in March 2019 and hasn’t looked back since.
“I heard about FRS from my brother and sister as they had both worked with FRS in the past and I thought why not and went ahead and applied,” she said.
Luckily, farming came as second nature to Sandra as she grew up on a dairy farm and has a huge love for driving tractors, so starting this line of work was nothing out of the ordinary.
“I have been farming my whole life. I was born and reared on a dairy farm which is now my brother Don’s suckler / beef farm. I love driving tractors so this line of work is definitely for me,” she said.
Sandra’s role with FRS varies depending on the farm she is working on, but she enjoys every minute of it and how different each farm can be.
“The work always varies depending on the farm I am working on. At present, I am working in a piggery in the farrowing house. It is hard work but I do like it,” said Sandra.
While farming has predominantly been viewed as a male occupation, Sandra adjusted to the work easily and being a female working on a farm has never been a problem.
“There has never been any judgment on any of the farms I worked on. I am there to do my job and I work hard to get the job done. Thankfully, any farm I have worked on have really made me feel like part of the family,” she said.
Even though farming plays a huge role in Sandra’s life, she still leads a normal life as a woman making time for her social life and hobbies outside of her farming role.
“I still enjoy things outside of farming like any other woman my age. When I am not working on the farm or I have my days off I enjoy dancing, cycling and hill walking. It is good to have things to do outside of work too,” she said
Sandra would encourage more women to choose farming as an occupation.
“I see an awful lot more women going into farming roles, and rightly so. We can do the job, too. I would advise any woman looking to get into farming to go to ag college if it is what you really want to do,” she said. Sandra would definitely encourage girls to build up as much experience as they can where possible before you start working on a farm full time.
John Joe Ryan who works in FRS Roscrea has seen a large increase in the amount of women sending in applications for farm work in the area
“We have noticed more women applying to work with the farm relief. It is a good source of income with flexible part time or full time work and can be easily managed with family circumstances.
“I think both women and men are more open minded about women working in the sector. We have also got great feedback from farmers that have employed women and their standard of work is exceptional,” said John.
FRS are hiring operators and milkers on both full time and part time basis.
For more details visit www.frsfarmreliefservices.ie to see a full list of current jobs or call FRS in Roscrea on 0505-21166.