NEWTON (NBC 26) — While farming may have once been a male-dominated industry, today that's slowly starting to change. Rosario Ibarra is the general manager for Grotegut Dairy Farm, where she oversees thousands of cows every day. She says there are countless opportunities for women in dairy farming and no limit to the amount of roles they can fill.
"We are over 50 full time employees and we represent 20% of the labor force," Ibarra said. "We work in all areas of the farm from management, maintenance, manual labor, all areas."
Ibarra oversees all of the day-to-day operations of the farm, including the milking and raising of all the cows. Over 2,800 cows move through the farm's parlor to be milked every single day. The milk produced by the farm is currently used to make BelGioso Cheese.
Currently, 100% of the cows at Grotegut Dairy Farm have been raised on the farm. The farm has space for over 400 calves.
As an immigrant from Mexico, Ibarra says farming in the U.S has given her more opportunities to work directly with animals and have the same opportunities as her male counterparts.
"When I was a student in Mexico, at that time of course, you didn't have the chance to work directly with the cows and with the cattle," Ibarra said. "In Wisconsin, you are part of the family. It's very normal as a female to work with the animals."
For women who are considering pursuing jobs farming, Ibarra says there are numerous ways to turn dairy farming into a career.
"Just do it," Ibarra said. "There's a lot of areas in the farm. We can be managers, we can be consultants, we can be nutritionists, you can be training in different areas of the farm, there's a lot of opportunities for us to work on the farm. It's not exclusive for males."
She says not only are women able to do any of the same jobs as men on the farm, but they also bring a unique set of skills.
"As women we bring a different perspective to the dairy industry, a more detail-oriented focus on the farm but also as natural caretakers," Ibarra said. "If you include women in your labor force, they help you to grow as a part of the community."