'She's the real farmer between us': Brother, sister from California find work on Island farms
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'She's the real farmer between us': Brother, sister from California find work on Island farms


'She's the real farmer between us': Brother, sister from California find work on Island farms

Published on :4 Jun,2017 By :- UNT News

Astro India Automobile Pvt. Ltd, Jammu

New Delhi:
When the Edgcomb family arrived in Lower Bedeque, P.E.I., from California nine years ago, they may not have imagined that two of their five children would find inspiration working on Island farms.

For Winny Edgcomb, farming is a future career path. For her brother Will, farming inspires his poetry and music.

The Edgcombs have some farming in their background, a family farm in Illinois that they visited, and they had horses. But nothing like P.E.I.

"The area where we lived in California had large corporate farms so we would see farm work going on," said Will Edgcomb, 20.

"But I'd never done anything like the Island's dairy farming. It's very intimate."                                          'Farming captivated me'

Will was the first to be recruited into the business, by local farmer Ranald MacFarlane, who operates Pleasant Pork.

One day, MacFarlane came by the Edgcomb home.

"I couldn't find him and Winny was there, the poor kid was 13, and I said, can you drive a tractor?" recalled MacFarlane.

"She said 'No,' I said, 'Do you want to learn?' She said, 'I guess so, I'll have to ask my mom.' And she's been with me ever since."

"Farming captivated me pretty quickly and it's been pretty hard to pull me away ever since then," said Winny, now 18.

"I love being outdoors and I love working with animals and doing the tractor work." "She's a great worker, you don't have to tell her what to do," said MacFarlane. 

"I haven't got time to be a hover farmer."

Edgcomb says she's thinking about agricultural college, with a goal to a career in farming.

"I'm not sure if after that or before that I would look into buying a farm, I've already been sort of looking at properties and seeing what's out there." "I think that's a great idea, there's total job security in farming because nobody else wants to do it," said MacFarlane.

"The field is wide open, there's lots of work."

'Women can do this'

What does bother Winny Edgcomb is the reaction some people have when they hear she's a farmer. 

"Everyone who sees me lift the grain bags, they don't understand because I'm a girl and everyone underestimates me because of that," she said.

"It's hard at times, but then there are the other people who are in awe."

She's happy if she is changing some perceptions.

"Proud and driven to prove that women can do this, women can do anything they set their mind to if they really want to, anyone can."                                                                                                                                   Free rein

Edgcomb gives credit to MacFarlane, her mentor.

"He definitely is a character and everyone who finds out that I work for him, says oh my gosh, you poor thing," she laughed.

"But, honestly, Ranald and I are extremely close and he is a really great employer and he teaches me so much."

"He gives me free rein to do what I want and trusts me completely and I'm very thankful for that."                     'The real farmer'

"She's the real farmer between us," said Will Edgcomb, of his sister.

"We'll trade stories about mishaps and misadventures on the farm and the very idiosyncratic behaviour of the cows."

Will no longer works for MacFarlane. He's now a herdsperson at Auchinleck Farms in Lower Bedeque, for Randall Affleck, going to work in the mornings and evenings when the cows are milked.

The work, he says, depends on the season.

"Right now the cows are out in the pasture so I'll go out into the fields and get them in and tie them up to the posts so they can be milked."                                                                                                                                       Inspiring work

Unlike his sister, Will is not hoping to make farming a career.

"I enjoy it but it's not my passion," said Will, whose focus is on music and writing.

"I'm just focusing on developing my craft, it's not something you need a degree for, you just need a lot of practice."

He has already found inspiration from his role as a herdsperson.

"I already have some poetry that I've written about nature and working on farms and there are a few short stories that are actual anecdotes of things that have happened," he said.

"I really enjoy feeding the cows, all of the work can be very meditative, once it becomes second nature to you."

Nexa Peaks Auto, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu