I am a founder member of Ladies in Pigs (LIPS) and am still actively involved as the organisation celebrates its 21st anniversary.
Although not from a farming family, my husband Rex loved farming – he rented some pig sties and fattened pigs, which paid for our honeymoon.
Rex went on to work as a consultant with the Meat and Livestock Commission and it was during this time – while we went on a farming trip to France, Belgium and Holland – that the idea for LIPS was born. I stood up on the coach and told these farmers that I was fed-up of the way they moaned but yet did nothing to promote their product. Then somebody else stood up and said: If you’re so bloody clever why don’t you do something?
Describe a typical day
I still keep very busy, going out to give talks about pork to Women’s Institutes and other groups, giving cooking demonstrations at shows and being on judging panels. It’s hard to believe that it’s 21 years since we first told consumers to “pucker up for pork”.
What is your biggest achievement?
I suppose standing up on that bus and doing something positive.
If you had one piece of advice for a rural woman, what would it be?
“Farming is not like The Good Life on television – it’s a very hard way of life. If you don’t love it, or it’s just a romantic fantasy, then farming’s not for you.”
Take off any rose-coloured glasses you may be wearing. Farming is not like The Good Life on television – it’s a very hard way of life. If you don’t love it, or it’s just a romantic fantasy, then farming’s not for you.
If you could change one thing to make life better for rural families what would it be?
Better public transport.
How do you think the life of a young woman on a farm has changed compared with 50 years ago?
Life is a lot less isolated on farms these days. Most women can drive now, whereas 50 years ago they’d rarely get away from the farm.
Is the countryside a sexist place?
I think if men see you’re passionate about your subject, know your stuff and work hard, they’ll respect you.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I would love to think that LIPS will continue and spread its message to an even wider audience. I encourage others to join; all organisations need new young blood. For more information visit www.ladiesinpigs.co.uk
If you hadn’t chosen the course in life you have, what would you have done?
An actress or a writer. I love writing poetry.