Our first #IWD2023 highlight is Catherine Manning, NSFA Council member!
Catherine farms full time with her husband in Falmouth, NS. Agriculture has been a part of her life since she was a child. When she was 5 her parents began dairy farming on her mother’s family farm in Toney River. Catherine has very early memories of spending countless hours in the barn “working” with her parents and younger brother – feeding calves, cleaning pens, playing in sawdust piles, and eventually milking and feeding on her own. Upon high school completion, like many farm kids, she attended NSAC and earned her BSc. In Agriculture, and also met her husband, Dean.
Currently, they have a beef herd as well as greenhouses where they grow market garden produce. Together, they took over the farm from Dean’s family in the early 2000s and have continuously made changes and improvements to advance the farm income as well as its viability for the next generation who may wish to farm it. Catherine’s role on the farm is all encompassing – from feeding livestock, maintaining animal husbandry, planting vegetables and all related production to them, organizing staff and farm accounting are all tasks she shares with her husband. She also operates an online store and attends weekly farm markets in the summer months.
As a result of living in Ag all her life, she feels her role to the industry is substantial as she feels the responsibility to produce food for their community and ensure their methods to produce this product leaves a very small environmental footprint – both in the physical and social climate. Catherine also feels a duty to contribute to the industry by promoting local agriculture to their community and neighbors and getting involved in organizations that can help educate and promote NS agriculture.
What’s one message you would like to share for International Women’s Day?
“In my own local community, I can easily name plenty of active female farmers and I am proud to call them friends and peers. In my opinion, the dynamics of females in ag has improved and the peers that are around me prove that as they are an amazing source of knowledge, inspiration and success. At one time, the consumer saw plaid shirts, coveralls and a straw hat as what a farmer looked like. It makes me so proud to look at my fellow female farm neighbors and know we are breaking that stereotype. It is much more acceptable for a woman to be running equipment, utilizing technology and managing farm businesses and I hope this trend continues. I would highly recommend women in agriculture get involved with industry organizations and always continue to educate themselves so we can educate the public.”