Great Yorkshire Show puts spotlight on women in rural businesses

A powerful portrait of the role women play in modern rural businesses is being showcased by the Women In Farming Network at the Great Yorkshire Show.
Ruth Russell, of Duggleby near Malton.Ruth Russell, of Duggleby near Malton.
Ruth Russell, of Duggleby near Malton.

The network is supported by registered charity the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show. It provides support for and seeks to inspire rural women across the county.

By teaming up with Ampleforth documentary photographer Lucy Saggers, the network is telling a compelling visual story of the diverse brilliance of its growing membership and farming women across the generations.

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The result is a stunning snapshot of farming lives across Yorkshire, drawn together in an exhibition of 27 carefully curated images entitled ‘All in a Day’s Work’ which is being showcased for the first time at England’s premier agricultural show.

Visitors can view the exhibition and a short narrative to accompany the images on Avenue 7, opposite the Young Farmers’ pavilion.

The project is part-funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and NFU with support from YAS.

Kate Dale, co-ordinator of the Women In Farming Network, said: “We are very pleased to shine a light on the different roles carried out by women through this specially commissioned photographic exhibition which we are unveiling for the first time at the Great Yorkshire Show.

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“Farming may traditionally be viewed from outside the industry as male-dominated, but the variety of roles taken on by women on farms has always been significant, from playing an active role in farming businesses to taking the helm of diversifications and rural businesses run from the farm base.”

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She added: “We all have a huge role to play in British agriculture as the industry responds to the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan and beyond. I hope the exhibition serves as inspiration to future generations of farming women who will help lead our industry forwards.”

Lucy Saggers was commissioned for the project for her skill of capturing the essence of individuals in their working environment.

Lucy works sensitively alongside her subject, conducting a gentle conversation to draw out the best opportunity for her images.

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Lucy said: “It has been a fascinating joy to meet and photograph these committed, passionate women working in agriculture across Yorkshire, who so generously shared their diverse expertise.”

The exhibition features: Christine Ryder of Blubberhouses, Becky Burniston of Pateley Bridge, Charlotte and Eleanor Russell of Thixendale, Ruth Russell, pictured above, of Duggleby near Malton, Becki Leach of Allerton near Bradford, Rachel Coates of Baildon, Jill Smith of Staxton near Scarborough, Molly Sadler of Sherburn near Malton, Mandy Shaw of Monk Fryston near Selby, Annabel Makin-Jones of Micklefield near Leeds and Harriet Hudson of Flaxton near York.

The Women In Farming Network was created back in 2013 following requests from women living and working on farms and the related industries.

The network’s autumn gathering will take place at Pavilions of Harrogate on Tuesday, October 12.