WEDNESDAY was International Women’s Day with Woolroom, one of the UK’s leading wool bedding retailers, celebrating its female farmers that supply the brand with premium wool.

According to data collected by the National Farming Union, (NFU), female farm workers make up 54 percent of the UK agricultural workforce, this figure includes women who are involved on family farms like those supported by the retailer.

Celebrating the work female farmers are doing within the industry, mother and daughter duo, Ruth and Sarah Priestly, work on the Cracrop Farm in Cumbria alongside Steven and Richard Priestly.

For the last eleven years, Ruth and Sarah’s family have tended Cracrop Farm close to Brampton and before that, farmed on the outskirts of Bradford for over 80 years.

Ruth and Sarah have been providing premium wool to Woolroom since 2020, and is used to produce the brand’s Classic Collection, which includes pillows and duvets. T

he Classic Collection sits under Woolroom’s Wool ID programme, a fully traceable scheme created in partnership with British Wool that allows customers to trace the wool used in their bedding back to the farm via a QR code.

Following in the footsteps of four generations of family, the pair help tend to the 435-acre farm and its livestock, including a flock of over 500 breeding ewes.

According to Ruth, life for women on farms and across the agricultural industry has changed within the past decade. She says, “Women have been hard workers on family farms for centuries and are just as capable as men. For example, you will notice at agricultural shows, there are as many, if not more women than men these days showing and preparing their livestock.”

Outside of the farm, both Ruth and Sarah hold additional roles in the agricultural industry. Ruth is Company Secretary at a local auction mart, and Sarah splits her time as an agricultural engineer, whilst helping her partner Tom to scan tens of thousands of sheep before lambing across the region.

Ruth greatly admires the previous generation of women in the family, she continues, “Our grandparents and their parents before were involved in farming and we particularly admire both my mother, Jean and late mother-in-law, Margaret. As a family, we have been brought up to get on with the job at hand and work well together. Plus, we’re women, we’re naturals at multi-tasking!”

For Sarah, being a young female farmer has huge job satisfaction. “I much prefer farming than sitting in an office and I urge more women to get involved. Women have the skills that modern farming needs, plus we are natural multi-taskers and used to hard work.”

Chris Tattersall, Managing Director of Woolroom comments; “We are proud to support farms where women are not only welcomed but championed and looked to as experts. Women have always played a vital role in the wool industry, and we take pride in being able to support them. We would encourage more women to approach farming as a career and just as our suppliers at the Priestley’s Cracrop Farm are proving, it’s a fantastic and diverse industry to be involved with.”

Woolroom is the UK’s leading wool bedding specialist committed to helping Britons achieve a natural night’s clean sleep. Through this commitment, Woolroom is dedicated to raising awareness of the holistic sleep environment, which is the key to attaining a good night’s sleep and spotlight the natural benefits of wool as the only sustainable, temperature regulating, hypoallergenic and chemical-free bedding fibre solution.