This is the seventh post in our new series “I am Agriculture”, that showcases the many careers available to young people in agriculture. Today’s post comes from Rossmery Daza La Plata, who is a Production Manager at South East Pacific Farm SAC.
When I was younger, I dreamed of studying something related to nature. I got this passion from my grandparents, who were involved in livestock keeping in the north of Peru. We lived in the capital, but I would always look forward to the holidays, when I could go to their farm to help them. When we were very small, my father taught my siblings and I how to manage the cattle, to milk the cows, ride horses and cultivate the land. He had learnt all this from his own father. We eventually left the city, and my father took on the farm, and now I’m learning how to as well.
I had always liked science and maths at school, I was always better at numbers than letters. When it came time to enroll in university, I enrolled in the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina to study zoology. It was five wonderful years of studying, and I learnt the technical aspects of raising various species, which complemented what I had learnt on our own farm.
I always imagined working in agriculture, and my dream is finally coming true. Thanks to my university training, I am helping other livestock keepers in the region improve their production too.
My day to day work is hard, but satisfying. Right now I work in Moyobamba in the north-east of Peru, and every day I wake up excited to improve livestock keeping in the region. I talk to the local farmers and it is very rewarding because we learn a lot together. By bringing science and experience together, we can get better production.
Something I have already implemented on my farm, is introducing genetically improved cattle that produce more milk, and also using improved feed. I have been able to give some talks on this topic to other livestock keepers in Moyobamba, and also teach them how to re-sow the feed that is best for tropical climates and soils.
One of the biggest challenges is to cope with sexism that sometimes exists in agriculture – a lot of the time people think that because I am a woman, I have certain disadvantages. But I don’t let it bother me, quite the opposite, I just explain that there isn’t a difference because of my gender.
Another challenge is to look after the environment, and ensure my livestock keeping is in harmony with nature. I see that there is a real lack of information and training for farmers to do things like recycling waste. It worries me that they do not have enough support for this. However, there are more and more organisations that are dedicated to looking after the environment, and that makes me feel I am not alone in this, that we can unite and make our planet better.
I think the reason more young people aren’t interested in an agricultural career is the lack of promotion. Agriculture has been left behind. In my country, every year universities are offering more office type careers, so young people are pursuing those. It is down to us, those that work in farming, to share our experience and tell how much we love to work in agriculture. Studying agriculture requires passion and dedication, but I love my career!
I know for sure that if we didn’t have anyone working in agriculture, the world could not live another day. We are all dependent on them, from the wheat for our bread to the coffee we drink in the morning, the chips we buy at fast food restaurants, or the lovely dish we order at a luxury restaurant.
If anyone were to ask me about my career, I would say it is the best decision I have made in my life. Studying zoology has taught me about reproduction, genetic improvement, nutrition for various species as well as administration aspects and how to run livestock projects. Furthermore, helping the local community makes me very happy. I think working in nature, whether with plants or animals, gives you a sense of what life is really about. You learn something valuable every day, about where the product we consume come from.
Are you a young professional in agriculture with a story to share? Tweet us using #IamAg to join our campaign to inspire more young people to get involved in agricultural careers.