Nov. 21 2022 08:00 AM

Do your looks define your worth as a person in the dairy industry?

In cartoons and many forms of media, farmers have been portrayed a certain way for a very long time. A man in overalls, a plaid shirt, a hat, a dirty face, and maybe even a piece of straw in his teeth is what I have specifically seen before. All of us involved in agriculture know this is certainly not an accurate image; farmers can be any gender, shape, size, and appearance. However, I still sadly see judgement when it comes to how women look in the dairy industry.

Evelyn, Claudia, and JoJo are three sisters from New York that show their lives on their family’s dairy and crop farm.
One of my favorite dairy farming social media pages is @NYfarmgirls. These three sisters certainly know how to teach others about agriculture and look their best while doing it. In many of their photos and videos, they are sometimes wearing makeup, and they have caught quite a bit of criticism for doing this. They have been called “fake farmers” more times than I can count in the comment section, just because they aren’t bare-faced and dirty. I can confirm that these girls know what they are doing, because between the three of them, they are managing the herd, breeding cows, feeding calves, and doing a great deal of the work with crops.

Annaliese teaches others about her dairy farm in Wisconsin and supports other farmers by encouraging them to share their stories.
Another dairy farmer I admire is @Modfarmchick. A dairy farmer in Wisconsin and a mother of two, she works hard day in and day out to support her family and operate the farm with her husband. Not only this, but she markets beauty and skin care products as a way to generate extra income. It’s the same story here; just because she enjoys getting ready for the day by putting on some makeup before chores, she may not be viewed as a real dairy farmer by some.

I am definitely not saying that all farmers, women or not, need to dress their best for every chores outing, but it’s time to stop bringing down others for being themselves. The dairy industry does not have an endless number of farmers, and everyone would have a much better time and experience with support from their fellow agriculturalists. If someone wants to wear a particularly fancy winter hat or bundle up in their grungiest poop covered sweatshirt, they should not be judged for what they wear. They should be celebrated for the work they do, day in and day out, to feed our growing world.

Mikayla Peper

Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper served as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.