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Supported, accepted but still questioned. This couple bring a different perspective to farming

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Supported, accepted but still questioned. This couple bring a different perspective to farming

Karyn Cassar and Carissa Wolfe operate certainly one of actual seven licensed organic dairy farms in Original South Wales, on a 190-hectare property at Hannam Vale on the Mid North Coast.

Key aspects:

  • Karyn Cassar and Carissa Wolfe operate a commercial dairy farm at Hannam Vale on the Mid North Coast
  • The pair say they accomplish now not know of any different lesbian couple operating a commercial dairy in the sector
  • While they really feel accepted by their local neighborhood, they say there may be been some challenges

That’s now not the handiest factor that makes this female-farming duo intriguing, they are also brazenly gay and have been so for 21 years.

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After residing in metropolitan areas for several years, the pair relocated to start Benmar Farm seven years ago.

“It be positively extra isolated in rural Australia as a gay couple,” Carissa said.

“There’s actual now not the same neighborhood here that there was after we lived in the metropolis, a lot of our pals in the metropolis were also gay.”

Nonetheless, the neighborhood of Hannam Vale has embraced the pair with open arms.

The country town is home to several intergenerational families of the original settlers of the valley and in additional latest years, has develop into a popular space for both Sydneysiders to retire and younger families drawn to regenerative farming to stay.

Two women walking on dirt road in front of more than 100 multicoloured dairy cows.

The pair manage roughly 130 cows on 190 hectares of land. (

ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati

)

Being different can be difficult

The largest challenge the couple face as female farmers is of us’s confusion surrounding gender roles on the farm, now not their same-sex relationship.

“Legal as female farmers we are always questioned,” Karyn said.

“[People have said] ‘well how are you going to assume fence posts?'”

The pair say they were once asked in the event that they owned a quad bike, which they did now not at the time, and felt it implied they were now not capable of operating the farm with out one.

But that certainly is now not the case at Benmar Farm, where the pair manage 130 heifers and accomplish 7,000 litres of milk each week for his or her local neighborhood.

Woman milking cow with electric pump.

Carissa has chanced on the handiest way to deal with shameful questions is to transfer on and demonstrate them unsuitable. (

ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati

)

The couple would now not frightened away from questions about their relationship. 

“We have now had somebody say to Karyn, you can’t be gay [because] you shave your legs and have lengthy hair,” Carissa said.

“It really would now not matter if it is a silly examine or a silly statement or an uneducated statement, the fact that particular person was even tantalizing to be open about that conversation is higher than avoiding it appreciate an elephant in the room.”

Being female advantages the trade

Carissa and Karyn imagine as females they approach farming differently and that they incorporate a range of different talents and experiences they’ve gained from old jobs.

“I mediate being a female-handiest managed farm, we positively bring a different perspective to the way that we farm and different tactics,” Carissa said.

“By way of the animal engagement, there may be a different interaction with the cows.

“With my background as a mum, but also a lactation consultant and as a doula, those are all issues that approach into the way that I interact with the cows luminous that they’re also a lactating mammal that’s gestating and having babies and all part of that cycle.”

Their philosophy is to care for and nurture their animals appreciate individuals, treating their milk appreciate a reciprocal gift.

Women kneels next to baby dairy cow lying on hay, touching noses.

The couple’s philosophy is to care for his or her animals as individuals. (

ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati

)

Industry and life partners

Working with a significant different can be dangerous territory for anyone, but Carissa says she’s hit the jackpot with Karyn as they are “in step with each different.”

While Karyn enjoys the physical aspects of farming appreciate managing cattle and driving the tractor, Carissa’s passion is in animal health and she draws on her accounting background for the trade.

“We have strengths that complement each different and works for the trade,” Carissa said.

“We are positively both extra outdoors-minded and activity minded and it is a standing silly story that we need a housewife.”

Women driving red tractor holding a hay bale.

Karyn enjoys the physical facet of farming, including driving the tractor. (

ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati

)

Connection with female farming neighborhood

While the LGBTQI+ neighborhood presence is scarce on the Mid North Coast, the pair have attain now not really feel alienated.

“We have pals, but they are predominantly hetero couples,” Karyn said.

“While we accomplish now not have that extra or less [LGBTQI+] neighborhood around us, we’re positively now not isolated because we have now chanced on our tribe both in our personal friendships and with our local Females in Dairy neighborhood,” Carissa said.

The neighborhood connects females who are associated with a farm in a single way or another, they are of us Karyn and Carissa can relate to.

“Some of them drive tractors, some of them are fascinated about the paperwork but they are all engaged in their farm operation, so that means we have a real commonality as females who are farming,” Karyn said.

“So once you are a lesbian farmer accessible it may perhaps frigid to catch up.”

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Supported, accepted but still questioned. This couple bring a different perspective to farming