Macra na Feirme President Alan Jagoe

Sisters are doing it for themselves: farming that is. In what was once seen as a male dominated profession, Irish women are demonstrating there's no part of the job they can't handle.

In fact four of them have just made it through to the final of a national competition to select the country's top young farmer.

Macra na Feirme president Alan Jagoe told the Irish Independent this week that the highest number of female finalists in the history of the competition are just a reflection of the reality of how many women are making a successful living from the land.

Jagoe admitted that in the 13 years of the competition all the winners so far have been men.

'It's great to see women getting involved in what was a male-orientated profession, becoming active farmers on the land,' Jagoe said.

'We would encourage as many women as possible to enter, these are highly skilled and highly capable farmers. Farming is one of the good news stories at the moment, exports are up and the industry is performing well,' he added.
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This year the four women in competition will be up against 21 men in the final held in the Seafield Hotel in County Wexford.

'They are strong candidates and reflect the reality that there are some great female farmers out there especially in terms of innovation' Macra na Feirme spokeswoman Aoife Helly said.

The four women finalists are: Aoife Ladd, 19, from Castletownroche, County Cork; Caroline O'Neill, 27, from Bandon, County Cork; Elaine Dempsey, 24, from Lisnalong, County Cavan; and Claire Rynn, 33, from Castlepollard, County Westmeath.