“Women should be a bit prouder of what they do!”

Mieke Vanderschueren (28) has many titles and a full career in agriculture to look back on: lady of honour in the “Schoonste Boerin van Vlaanderen” (Miss Flanders Farmer) contest, Belgian tractorpulling champion and several prizes with the pride of her breeding program: her red Holstein Annelies 8.

“I grew up on my parents’ farm and accompanied my father, who was a veterinarian, to cattle inspections and competitions. I have a degree in agro- and biotech and work as an advisor for a studbook organisation, but I also help my mother and brother on the farm since my father passed away.”

“Next to my job, I often judge competitions in Belgium and the Netherlands and work at the farm in the evenings and weekends, where I take care of the animals. On top of that, I also organise farm events such as birthdays, children’s parties, team buildings,…”

For Mieke, who lost her father to cancer and had to cope with her mother getting ill a few years later, winning the competition at Agriflanders with Annelies right after her mother’s surgery is one of the most beautiful moments of her career: “Annelies has gone on to become 7th at the European championship and champion of Flanders afterwards, but that one title at Agriflanders was so special: mom was very ill and had just had surgery, but wanted to come and watch the competition. To be able to win it in that moment was unforgettable.”

If Mieke had one piece of advice for young women working in agriculture, it would be to be prouder of what they do: “please remember that there is nothing wrong with being proud of your abilities and your work!”

Read Mieke’s full story (in Dutch) on Hectares

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