Emily Chamelin Aerie Farm East email@example.com 443-244-2702 Westminster, MD Cattle Goats, Other
Explain your background or how you got interested in your chosen field?:
I grew up on a family dairy farm where we milked 60 cows and had goats for fun. The goats got me interested in sheep and I soon had a small flock of my own that needed to be sheared. I went to sheep shearing school and began shearing sheep for friends and neighbors. Soon sheep shearing became my full time job and I traveled all over the United States shearing sheep and competing in shearing contests. I was able to shear in 3 world championships as well. Shearing ultimately provided me the opportunity to lease land and begin our own sheep farming operation and now we have shifted to grazing sheep, goats and mini zebu cows on multiple leased properties as well as solar sites. Our farm operation has also led to starting a Lamb meat cooperative and we sell lamb, sheep pelts, and yarn though our online store and at markets.
What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman? What is the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?:
Camaraderie and collaboration with others has helped push me and make me take opportunities that I might have missed otherwise. Nobody can do all of it alone and surrounding yourself with other focused and talented people is really important.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?:
When I was getting started as a shearer I frequently heard that people didn’t think a woman could do such a physically demanding job. As I’ve transitioned to farming I still have issues with getting repairs and selling products to people because contractors typically want to speak to the man of the house and some custom lamb clients don’t want to negotiate with a woman and so can lead to issues. We all assume our culture has moved past some of these issues but they are very much still alive and well and create challenges that are unique.
What mistakes have you made along the way and what did you learn from them?:
Trying to get too big too fast and not health testing animals or quarantining them long enough. Trust nobody when you buy animals. Lots of diseases and infections can be in a flock but not exhibited because of developed immunity. You should absolutely health test and quarantine any animals you bring into your operations. I’ve learned that the hard way and it’s very expensive dealing with outbreaks of new disease.
Do you or did you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why?:
Patty Sanville and Lisa Check are the two names that come to mind right away. Both are shearing clients that have morphed into so much more. They both are always available to bounce ideas off of, both of them have excellent business sense and have been so instrumental in pushing me to improve and are forgiving when I fall short of expectations. Everyone needs someone like Patty and Lisa in their corner to really let you know that you are loved and valued.
You are a busy woman. What do you do to relax and maintain good mental health?:
I have a fantastic circle of other woman farmer friends that I see and talk to regularly. They help me put things into perspective and not make me feel so alone in this journey.
To help other women starting out, Tell us how you advertise your business. Do you use social media marketing, website, facebook? What provides the most value to your business?:
The best advertisement is to get involved with industry associations and really connect with others in that way. You will get good intel about what works for others in your region.