Jodi Kirker left school at the age of 15. She was told by some that she was throwing away so much. That she should stay in school to become something more important than “just a farmer”. Jodi found she was also frowned upon, because people assumed women aren’t farmers. Her late grandmother was well known for wearing her redbands and feeding lambs at all hours of the day and night. She was probably where Jodi got half her passion from. "I love how the mentality of women in agriculture has changed".
Since before Jodi could walk the goal was to be a farmer. She did this through hard work and sheer determination and a little bit of stubbornness. Jodi has grown up on the land and knows no different. A farmer is, in her case a Jodi of all trades. While she may not be top at everything, she doesn’t always have the physical strength and maths does scare her a little bit. However, Jodi can tackle a ewe and drive a waratah with the best of them. She can also manage a filing system and know how to keep the kitchen messy. At the end of the day, Jodi couldn’t have done it without her family.
Alongside her parents and brother and his young family, Jodi helps operate a sheep, beef and grain farm in Five Rivers, Southland. The farm has been in the family nearly 60 years. Jodi is third generation, with her nephews being the possible fourth. After Jodi left school she worked at home and between fattening cattle and scholarships, she put myself through Telford for two years finishing with a Diploma in Rural Business and some of the greatest friends. A lot of whom are great AgWomen themselves. She thought about Lincoln University, but she was too attached to home or more the tribe of animals she had at the time.
After graduating Jodi returned home, she was given more responsibility. Now she is technically the stock manger. Animals often make more sense to her than humans. Her brother is the machinery man which suits her. "Not too many people can say the view from their office window always amazes without changing locations. Which is handy with my side project of photographing my rural landscape and everyday life displayed at dust, mud and me, Jodi Kirker Photography. I’m far from professional. It’s certainly not without challenges and as a type one diabetic some days are harder than others. I do it because I love it. There’s a passion for it, the farming, the photography, the animals and the fresh air"!
"Pride is that one word I’d use to describe how I feel about being an AgWomen. As cliché as it sounds. I’m proud of everything I’ve done to get here. I’m proud of all the AgWomen who’ve said “yes I can do that too or at least give it a try”. Pride leads to joy or happiness and farming makes me happy, maybe not rich but definitely happy."
Finding your place in the primary industries is often one people take a while to find however, Jodi you sound like you have known where you should be and what you need to do to get there from day one. Keep sticking to what you do best and you will continue to succeed as a great NZ AgWomen.