Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: International Women’s Day
I’m not much a modern feminist, but as we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I can’t help but admire the many unique traits of women in ag. Not many women can:
Recite the dosage instructions of the vast majority of both general child and cattle drugs by memory, eye a fairly accurate weight on either, and administer the necessary medicine based on symptoms.
Create a meal for 10 that was planned for four in 30 minutes or less after helping with the morning work.
Negotiate a six-figure deal with the cattle buyer, line up the trucks and have everything waiting in the corral when they pull up.
Clean blood and feces out of carpets, clothes and upholstery of both livestock and human origin.
Climb on a horse that would never be considered, “wife and kid friendly,” without batting an eye.
Start the “custom” piece of machinery without brakes or functioning 4-wheel drive and get the cows fed before the frost goes out, with the kids along.
Remember how the bull bought last year was bred and what his birthweight EPD was. No, make that the bull from the year before.
Have a working understanding of figuring shrink, running a quick and accurate estimate of total cost with interest on a 30-year note, or determine what the wheat check will be based on estimated yield and local basis.
Keep her composure when told she knows nothing about figuring shrink, calculating a payment on a 30-year note or determining a crop’s local market value.
Determine when the hay is ready to bale, know how to adjust the tensioner on the square baler to the weight her husband likes, as well as how to adjust it to exactly the weight she prefers.
Hook up a stock trailer and back it anywhere she wants.
Keep countless cogs turning on a vast operation and a family out of a house she is routinely reminded does not generate any income. Or, does it?
Own and expertly operate her own set of hand tools.
“Fill in” on the planter in the spring and the combine and/or grain truck at harvest.
Decide which variety to plant, what heifers to keep, when to spray for weevils and what brand of implant to put in the steers.
And, not many women have experienced enough equal work for equal pay days to know that such opportunities exist, let alone how they feel about them based on personal experience.
They haven’t seen a man’s strength spike with adrenaline in crucial moments.
Paired their thoughts with his rational, level headed thinking when making a major decision.
Stayed in the house with the kids and a mixture of guilt and gratitude while he goes out to face a long day in bad weather alone.
Fostered a faith that enlightens them to the fact that men and women are not equal, and that through her faith and conduct a woman can have great impact.
Which is perhaps why most women in ag are equally fine with their feminity and a man’s masculinity. Both on the days a celebration of one or the other is held, and every day in between.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that a man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18