Did you know that British Columbia has the highest proportion of female farmers of any province in Canada? Women play an important role on dairy farms all across BC. Read on, and get to know Nicole Tuytel, a passionate dairy farmer from Chilliwack, BC.
Nicole Tuytel set a goal to become a dairy farmer at a very early age, and has been committed to pursuing her passion for dairy farming ever since. She believes that the traditional role of women on farms has evolved a lot over the years, “I’m very much involved in the day-to-day of running the farm, and making decisions about what we do.” Although working in a traditionally male-dominated industry is not without challenges, Nicole wouldn’t give it up for anything.
Nicole farms with her husband and their two children in Chilliwack, BC. Like all dairy farmers in BC, she works hard all year long, and is committed to caring for her animals, and producing safe, quality milk.
Q & A with Nicole Tuytel
What do you love most about being a dairy farmer?
The thing I love most about being a dairy farmer is working with the cattle. I was given my first calf when I was 4 years old and that gave me such a passion for purebred dairy cattle that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What is your favourite farm chore?
My favourite farm chore is feeding calves. It is something I have always enjoyed and take much pride in doing. I find it to be a very rewarding job. It is so important for the calves to get off to a great start right from the time they are born, as they are the future for the milking herd.
Your children help out a lot on the farm. Are they interested in dairy farming in the future?
Yes both kids are quite involved in the farm. Both have shown a strong interest for being the next generation of farmers! They like most aspects of the farm. Caitlyn moreso likes to work with the animals – whether it be feeding calves, milking, or helping a calf be born. Brayden has his favourite cows and calves but his heart lies with the equipment, cropping and fieldwork.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received from a fellow dairy farmer?
That it’s important to find balance between the farm and everyday life. That it’s okay to have family time together off the farm
What’s one thing you wish you could tell consumers about dairy farming?
We put our heart and soul into dairy farming. We work 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure the animals and their welfare are top priority, thus producing quality dairy products for consumers.
What are you most proud of about your dairy farm?
The quality of the genetics in our herd and how we care for animals on a daily basis. We have strived to breed animals of superior genetic quality; both for milk production and conformation. The herd is probably the best it has been. I think taking the extra steps to ensure they are healthy and comfortable is extremely beneficial to achieving this.
What’s your favourite dairy product?
I love all dairy products! But if I had to choose just one, it would be raspberry yogurt!!
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not farming?
I actually love dairy farming and that’s probably why I hardly take any days away from the farm!! On sunny days I enjoy riding my horse at the river, or in the winter I enjoy skiing with the kids.
Interested in getting to know more female dairy farmers in BC?
Statistics Canada 2016 Census Agriculture Accessed February 15, 2019.