- Ceylan, can you tell us a little about yourself? How is your working day, what do you do in the field/home during the day?
I am a farmer in Tire. I got married at 16. I have two girls and a boy. My eldest daughter is a nurse in Istanbul. My little girl is a midwife. My son helps with the farm work. Since my marriage, I have been running the business myself due to my husband’s illness. I grow corn, I also produce dairy with my cattle and sheep. I am a member of the Chamber of Agriculture, and I am a leading farmer in the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity Program, which started three years ago.
- Do you have experienced any difficulties because you are a female farmer?
In our neighborhood, everyone keeps the job, regardless of whether they are men or women, and they cultivate their fields. I run the business on my farm, I manage the budget. In this sense, I do not have any difficulties. I love growing, sowing, reaping, soil. I see myself as a businesswoman and I follow the market and all new developments closely to do my job in the right way. I became a member of the Chamber of Agriculture to follow the news and information about agriculture in the best way. There I meet with government officials, engineers, other farmers. I talk, I explain, I raise issues. No one ever said 'don't do it' because I'm a woman. I can even say that they are more helpful. When a person knows what she/he wants to do and is determined, nothing can stand in her/his way. It's about a little self-confidence, about putting yourself forward. I've been talking to other female farmers as well; I think they just hold back because they don't believe they can do it.
- Do you also benefit from new technologies as part of the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity Program run by Cargill? Do you think it makes farming easier?
We used to do things as we saw from our elders before. Whatever the most productive neighbor did, we were doing the same. But then I joined the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity Program launched by Cargill. I learned a lot through the program. The training programs I attended were very beneficial. For example, we received Farm Management training. Now we make input & output and profit & loss calculations like a business at the beginning of the year. We adjust our budget and expenses accordingly.
Thanks to the program, we also use technological tools free of charge. I have the soil of the field analyzed digitally at planting time. I learn what type of fertilizer and how much the soil needs and use it accordingly. In this way, I have been using less fertilizer. We can also reach agronomists with a phone call or a message, and we can consult our problem. I've been watching my field on my cell phone for two years. I water when I see the thirst sign. When I see a disease, I ask the engineers then I give medicine accordingly. In this way, I saved a lot of both water and medicine. I use less input and get more corn.
I think that technology has made farming easier. Everyone should give their best support for the development of agriculture and farming. Companies that think about and support farmers every day, not once a year, should increase. We must cultivate our fertile lands more consciously. For this, education and technology are very important. We should all cultivate our land in the best way, regardless of men and women. I also think of my children and future generations. This land has been feeding us for thousands of years, but if we don't pay attention, if we don't keep our land clean, if we consume resources, how long will it feed us? Thanks to the program, I now think about them more and produce accordingly.
- How did you spend the pandemic period?
We have never been affected by the pandemic in the countryside. We focused on more work, we devoted ourselves to more work. We have always produced, sown, reaped. We wore our mask, we used our disinfectant, we did all our work without interruption by paying attention to our hygiene. In this process, I applied for a grant to the Tire District Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry and was entitled to a 50 percent feed mixed grant. I established a milking house on my farm, I built a new roof for my cows. We continue to work non-stop.
- What are your thoughts on the International Women's Farmers Day?
I take care of everything on my farm. I follow up from planting, harvest, income and expense management. Of course, I would like more women to do this. If they trust themselves. When we say International Women Farmers’ Day, I feel like we are being thanked for our efforts, which I like, of course. As women farmers, we are proud that our labor is visible and appreciated.
- What would you like to say to women who want to farm but do not dare?
In the 1000 Farmers Endless Prosperity Program, farmers who are open to innovation and pioneers for other farmers are chosen as leaders. I am also the leading farmer in Tire. They say I am a very good example to the farmers and women in the region. I also tell other farmers and women in our region what I learned and implemented from the program. They come and consult me. They come and examine what I do differently in my field for the yield to increase. I'm telling as much as I can. Women can be successful in any business if their opportunities are not taken away. We should all work together for our country without discriminating between men and women. We must produce. We should work harder to resist those who say, 'You can't do it, you're a woman'. Why can't women who take on the housework and achieve an important job like raising children at the same time do other jobs?