ICMSA@70: ‘I’m not treated any differently because I am a woman’

Aoife Ladd is a dairy farmer in Castletownroche, Co Cork. She was 15 when she went to her first ICMSA meeting. 
ICMSA@70: ‘I’m not treated any differently because I am a woman’

Aoife Ladd and her father John Ladd on the family's dairy farm in Castletownroche, Co Cork.

Aoife Ladd is a dairy farmer in Castletownroche, Co Cork, working alongside her father John.

She is a member of ICMSA having started going to meetings with her dad when she was just 15 years old.

She is currently secretary of ICMSA’s Mallow branch.

As a woman in farming she feels she is treated equally at meetings. She also feels heard and listened to when she raises matters of concern.

“Sometimes I’m the only woman at the meetings and other times there are a couple of other women there as well - so it varies,” she added.

“When the branches come together in the North East Cork area there are usually more women visible but it does vary.” 

Meanwhile, she has been attending ICMSA meetings for years and she says they provide a real opportunity for members to get access to information and learn more about the industry.

Aoife Ladd putting on the clusters during milking on the family farm in Castletownroche, Co Cork.
Aoife Ladd putting on the clusters during milking on the family farm in Castletownroche, Co Cork.

“My father was a member of ICMSA and from the age of 15, I used to go to the meetings with him.

“I found it a great way of getting information and finding things out for myself.

“I never really thought about taking up a role at the meetings but I got a phone call one year before a meeting looking for someone to put themselves forward as chairperson.

So, one thing led to another, as they say, and here I am now as secretary.” 

She says she is not treated any differently at meetings “because I am a woman”.

“In fact I feel I am an equal when I’m at a meeting or participating in a discussion group and that’s the way I’m treated in ICMSA,” Aoife continued.

“It has been a great way of getting to know people in Cork and all over the country as well.

“ICMSA is regarded as the ‘family farm’ organisation and that ethos means a lot to me.

“If there are any issues there is no problems picking up the phone and ringing the office - there is always help available.

“It’s a great organisation.” 

Meanwhile, there are a number of pressing matters on the agri front and Aoife is adamant that the industry must be protected and supported through the difficult times.

“At the end of the day farming is a business, a livelihood and farmers want to be able to make a living from what they are doing,” she added.

“Ireland is in a good situation because of the grass fed system we have here; it is regarded as one of the best producers of beef in the world and farmers deserve more recognition for that.

“Because there are so many Irish products going into the UK, Brexit is a major concern for all of us; it would be very worrying if there was no trade arrangements between the two countries.”

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