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Female Farmers

*** EXCLUSIVE *** HAY-ON-WYE, WALES - UNDATED: Emma Jones at her farm taken in Hay-On-Wye, Wales, Date undisclosed. THE FEMALE farmers of Hay-on-Wye are being showcased in a new photography exhibition. Photographer Billie Charity has launched a new exhibition at Shepherds Parlour in Hay-on-Wye, showcasing some of the many hard-working women farmers in the local area. The exhibition comes just a couple of months after the National Farmers Union appointed its first female president in its 110-year history, and reflects the increasing diversity of what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. The photographer, who is a resident in Hay-on-Wye said: "I was brought up in this area, but I have had little direct experience of farm life, driving past tiny turnings off country lanes without a second thought about all the activity at the end of the tracks. "In recent years however, if Ive had a spare morning, something has drawn me to the livestock markets in Hay or Hereford. Ive had great conversations as well as uncovering unique photo opportunities. But it struck me that most of my farming photos have shown men, and I wanted to showcase all the hard-working women too." The exhibition includes women whose families have been farming for generations, alongside those who have come to farming more recently. Subjects range in age from 18-year-old pig farmer Courtney Gibbs to the energetic 93-year-old Betty Smith, who gave Billie a tour of the farm on her quad bike before doing the photoshoot in her farmhouse kitchen. "Initially a lot of the women were really reluctant to get involved, because they are used to staying behind the scenes. But after the photoshoot, they seemed really happy to have taken part, says Billie, whose work is well known locally and has also featured in publications including the Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph. Continuing the very female theme, new Shepherds Parlour proprietor Jess Hope-Jones says she is delighted to have Billies exhibition on the walls of the café. She notes that Juliet Nobles sheep farm in Peterchurch has supplied the café with its distinctive sheeps milk ice cream for over 30 years. Jess Hope-Jones said: "Shepherds Parlour wouldnt be here without Juliets dedicated and careful work. The exhibition is free to view and runs throughout the summer months. PHOTOGRAPH BY Billie Charity / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Billie Charity / Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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Barcroft Media
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