Thirty-seven year old Paula Hynes’, from Cork, Ireland, farming career may have only start four years ago, but she has been well and truly bitten by the dairy bug. Working in retail for most of her life, having never even milked a cow, in 2010 her life was turned upside down when her husband, Pete, returned home to take over the family’s 100-hectare unproductive farm, in desperate need of expansion.

Feeling daunted by her husband's conversations about dry matter, EBI, milk solids and grass growth, Paula weaned herself in slowly, initially starting to look after young stock. Looking at the milking herd, Paula knew she had a lot to learn and with her passion growing, in 2015 she bit the bullet and undertook a milking course.

The next year saw her hunger for farming grow and grow, amazed how quickly she was picking everything up. She finally understood the lingo and found her and husband became even closer as they milked together each day and discussed their new business. Starting with just 50 cows, a lot of land to be reclaimed and poor soil fertility, this spring the couple calved 150 cows, with a calving interval of 364 days, and erected state of the art cattle housing, after a difficult winter.

Driven to succeed, their hard work and determination is already paying off, after they won the 2017 Zurich Independent Farm of the Year award, giving them the opportunity to meet farmers from all over the world. As a mother of three daughters, Paula is passionate about the role of women changing the face of world agriculture, and is delighted to see her girls love of farming grow too.

“The great bit about farming is being able too share it with my family, I get to work beside my husband as a team everyday and once in a while throw on the glad rags and go on a date....chatting about cows. There have been so many new challenges & experiences.”

Paula’s role in the industry gives her great pride and she finds her work therapeutic. Growing in confidence by the day, Paula sees a huge place for women within the farming industry and hopes to promote that on her own personal journey. “So many women should stand up & take a bow for all the hard work they have done, be proud ladies. For me there are so many more chapters, hopefully I will fly the women in ag flag high.”

Good on you Paula, it sounds like you have taken to farming like a duck to water. We think you and your husband have done a stirling job getting the farm back up and running, and know that you will continue to reap the rewards.