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HERd management: The Real Farmwives of Berks County

Raechel Kilgore Sattazhan Published on 09 August 2013

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No, I don’t have the inside scoop on the next big reality TV series.

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Although I think that any farmwoman, and in particular any dairywoman, will agree that being involved in a farming operation can sometimes bring drama, comedy and suspense, all which might seem like you are starring in your own version of the infamous reality TV series, “The Real Housewives.”

It takes a special woman to share her husband’s love with the 100 other “girls” that fill the barn, to warmly welcome him as he comes in from the field at 10 o’clock at night and to constantly have to remove straw from the washing machine.

While sometimes you might feel that you are alone in these activities, know that across the country, there are other farmwomen just like you dealing with the same issues.

As the wife of a dairy farmer in Pennsylvania, I can’t deny my love for the farm and animals. I was born and raised on a dairy farm and would probably wear cow-spotted underwear if I could ever find a pair.

I know the challenges that come with living on a farm, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

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However, now being married to a farmer in a different area of the state and dealing with an off-farm career, it can sometimes be a struggle to make it all work.

This past spring, a group of other young farmwomen and I began to get together on a regular basis. It is interesting that we all come from strikingly similar situations – all married to farmers, all transplants to the area, all with full-time off-farm careers and all from agricultural backgrounds.

In fact, I knew this group of girls for many years prior, but it was our camaraderie from being in similar situations in a close proximity that has brought us together. And so The Real Farmwives of Berks County (RFWBC) was formed.

Our monthly gatherings focus on our personal well-being – a stress-reliever of sorts. We get together at local restaurants around the area and take turns being the event host who takes care of all of the logistical details.

Of course, most of what happens at our gatherings includes talking about our lives and what is going on. We joke about being “widowed” when our husbands are out in the fields and offer updates about our jobs. Did I mention that we all work for organizations within the agricultural industry?

We’ve also expanded The Real Farmwives of Berks County to include “and Friends” for other women who may not have a farming husband but have a link to agriculture.

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We’ve even had bring-a-friend events where everyone is encouraged to bring someone else that they think would be a good fit for our group.

The bottom line is: The Real Farmwives of Berks County brings together women with a common understanding. We know what each other is going through.

The other key part about The Real Farmwives of Berks County is that we make time to get together. We schedule monthly gatherings and are sure to plan our next outing at least a month in advance so that we get it on our calendars.

We’ve found that if we don’t plan it, it will most likely not happen. Of course, we welcome more spontaneous gatherings as well, and we will even occasionally invite our husbands to join us.

Building this network of friends has been an important step in helping me to adjust to farm life in a new area. I like to think that I make friends fairly easily, but it has taken me four years to get to the point that I am now.

I credit The Real Farmwives of Berks County for being instrumental in speeding up that adjustment. It’s made a difference in my life knowing that there is always someone that I can call, text or email who will understand my issues.

I am thankful for my Real Farmwives friendships and am looking forward to many more years of networking and fellowship. We all support and learn from one another to help make each other stronger in our life endeavors.

I encourage you to think about other farmwives in your area that are in a similar situation to you. Chances are you will probably have more in common with these ladies than you ever imagined, and you just might meet your new best friend. PD

00_sattazahn_raechel

Raechel Kilgore Sattazhan
Dairy Producer
RFWBC Member
Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania

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