International Women's Day - Celebrating women in farming - Helen Andrews

While South Canterbury farmer, Helen Andrews may have grown up on a farm, she was not urged to become one. But after working full time on her family’s farm one school holidays, she was hooked and never looked back!

To any young women that are thinking about a career in agriculture or farming, she encourages them to go for it.

“I have always found farming a very open and supportive sector, with people who love to see others succeed. Go hard girls, you’ve got this!”

1. What do you love about your job?

My favourite thing about my job is working with pigs, especially newly born piglets. Being able to make a real difference to a pig’s life is very special as is working outside and being able to take one step out of the door to arrive at work.

As a Mum who enjoys cooking for my children, I also like knowing exactly where our food (and yours) comes from and the effort that has gone into producing such a great tasting and nutritious product.

As a farmer, I enjoy the challenge of considering how the impact I have can become a positive, so that the land upon which I farm continues to be an intergenerational asset as well as supporting of the community in which I live.

"I have a great team to work with on my farm and this includes four amazing women!"

2. What made you pursue this career?

I was born a farmer’s daughter so farming literally is in my blood. Although I was never encouraged to be a farmer, I learnt to open gates, feed calves, milk cows and stack hay bales from the moment I could either reach or was strong enough.

My farming career started during a school holiday, I was hooked and couldn’t get enough of it, hence I never returned to school to my parent’s initial horror.

3. What challenges or obstacles have you faced being a woman working in a predominantly male industry?

My family had only ever had a son become a farmer, but I took that as a challenge to do an even better job and help them see that women can do it well.

There are so many women who work as equal partners in farming businesses and I believe that they always have, it was just we only saw the man behind the tractor so viewed him as the farmer.

Society now understands that not only can women do the same job, but we bring different qualities such as empathy and diligence. We are strong in so many ways.

4. What advice would you offer females who are interested in getting into the farming industry?

Embrace what you offer and what you love. I have always found farming a very open and supportive sector, with people who love to see others succeed. Go hard girls, you’ve got this!

Find out more about the Andrews family's farm here.