A girl in a guys work world

Farming. What comes to your mind when you hear the word “farming”?  Most people probably think of cow manure, dirty boots, and hard work that never ends.  When I think of farming I think about endless opportunities the industry can offer me.  When I was eight years old I became a Jolly Workers 4-H club member. I showed cattle for 10 years and participated in various activities throughout my 4-H career. Growing up in a small farming community I have always loved working on the family farm.  The farm life has taught me how to become a responsible adult, I have gained many life-long friends and have experienced so many great opportunities.


At the career fair held at WIU last fall, I had come across the greatest opportunity yet.  I had introduced myself to Larry Joe O’Hern and Matt Taylor.  I knew who Mr. O’Hern was at the time, so I went and spoke with him for a while.  It wasn’t until I sent a follow-up thank you letter to O’Hern Stockfarms that is when I was asked to go out for an interview.  I started working at O’Hern Stockfarms in Vermont, IL in late October of last year, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work on the ranch.  Honestly I was not expecting to get hired because I am female and they were looking to hire on a full-time barn manager.

After working with a bunch of men for about six months I have learned that I am no different than one of the guys.  That is what I love most about my job, they do not treat me like a little girl.  I feel that my dedication and passion for the cattle industry has helped me everyday out at the ranch.  I do not think of my occupation as a farm hand, work, I like to call it a lifestyle.  I have learned not to be nervous working with the guys’ they have taught to be more confident in myself and that I can do anything.

Since being there I have been told that there were second thoughts about hiring me, they did not think a girl would be a good fit for the job.  So far I think I have proved to them that a girl can work just as hard as the boys.  We work together on the majority of the projects, but I feel I bring a few extra things to the farm by being a female.  For instance, I would like to think I am more nurturing towards baby calves than the men are.  I spend more time taking care of the bucket calves.  I spend extra time brushing the horses out when I feed them.  I feel that the caring aspect from a female and male are different, I care about all the animals at the farm.  I like to take extra time to ensure that all the animals are happy and healthy before I end my work day. I am so thankful to have had the chance to work with the guys, I have learned so much from them about cattle farming and just everyday life.

“The most important thing people did for me was expose me to new things”-Temple Grandin

Photo Credit Presley Barr
I am Presley Barr currently a senior at Western Illinois University, I will graduate in May of this year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture with a focus in Animal Science. I am from Lewistown, Illinois. I live on 600 acres of Spoon River bottom ground where I have grown up in the livestock industry and will continue to grow and gain more experience and continue to learn about livestock.  I plan to manage my family’s farm one day.  I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog.


7 thoughts on “A girl in a guys work world

  1. jsteffener

    Being a female in the Ag industry isn’t always easy, but it seems like you are really showing those boys what you can do! I think it’s important for females to get out there and show people that we can work just as hard as the men and gain their respect. Keep on workin’ hard, girl! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. skylerw18

    This was a nicely written post. I like the fact that you mentioned you had value to the caring side of the farming world. I think sometimes that often gets looked over to easy and it is a very important aspect of cattle farming. I am glad that things worked out great for you. Sometimes a little hard work and dedication is all you need to get you where you are going. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. madisoncorzatt

    Great post! Also being a female in the Ag industry I could relate to many things you talked about. It seems like you are fitting in just fine and showing the guys what you can do. Keep up the hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

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