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An issue for everyone

Progressive Dairyman Editor Karen Lee Published on 30 October 2015

Women have been an integral part of the dairy industry for a long time. After watching my own mother tame a number of wild barn cats, I would guess that women were probably involved in domesticating the cow.

We believe the role of women in dairy is so important to the industry that each year we publish this special issue highlighting this fact with articles tailored more to the female portion of our audience.



Our intention is not to disregard our male readers, just as we don’t ignore women the other 11 issues of the year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: All of our content from month to month is not gender-specific. Both men and women can gain something from this and every other issue we publish.

Here is a bit more about our featured women in dairy content and why I feel the articles are a great read for all segments of our audience.

Within the section, two different women open up about the challenges they’ve encountered in starting their businesses. Amanda O’Connell and her husband, Jason, were determined to farm, but first they needed to convince her father and grandfather that they were willing and able to take over the dairy operation.

For Dagmar Beckel-Machyckova, achieving her dreams meant pushing through doors of opportunity. She tells of how one advantageous occasion led to another and how important it was to not let herself or others stand in her way. Each of their stories could inspire any individual.

Both men and women can pick up some great life tips from dairy blogger Krista Stauffer, farm family coach Elaine Froese and Farm & Food Care CEO Crystal Mackay.


Stauffer suggests some dating tips farm couples might want to consider. For the women, be OK with breaking the traditional viewpoint; and men, be willing to share when your significant other takes an interest. Let them ride in the tractor or help you with a job. If she brings you food, take five minutes to chat before getting back to work.

Froese encourages women to take stock of each life role they have and figure out what they could do more or less of to find greater fulfillment in life. I suggest men do the same, as the roles of self care, couple, family, farm, friends and community are not exclusive to a single gender.

Work-life balance is something both men and women chase after. Mackay will help you adjust your view of what this really means and how each person can achieve it in his or her own way.

Lastly, we take a look at what women bring to the workforce and why they should have equal consideration for farm and industry positions – something both men and women in charge of hiring should take into account.

J.E. Johnson reviews reasons why there aren’t more women involved on farms or in the industry. She encourages employers to consider diversity amongst their employees and to utilize individual strengths.

When Dianna Emperingham accepted the position of director of product supply for Canada and lead for the Regina manufacturing and distribution facility for Bayer CropScience, she didn’t give much thought to the fact that she was a woman in a role historically held by a man.


Instead, she led the only way she knew how and outlines the driving principles of the culture she created for her team. These principles can be adopted by anyone in leadership, regardless of their gender.

Whether you are a woman or a man, I hope you appreciate this issue as much as we delight in delivering it to you.  PD

Karen Lee
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