This Highland farming Instagram account gives you a true taste of life in the fields
Photo credit: @airyolland | Janet McQuistin
Janet McQuistin, 52, and her husband Neale Highland Cross Whitebred breed Shorthorn calves and Beltex sheep at Airyolland Farm in South West Scotland. So she adopted Instagram (@airyolland) to connect with other farmers and feel less isolated in the fields.
I always have a camera with me on the farm. I breed and sell cows and sheep, so I want to make sure I catch them at their best. At the end of 2013, my then 18-year-old daughter introduced me to Instagram. She thought I could enjoy it.
I quickly discovered other women farmers. There is nothing better than farmers comparing pictures! I follow Mary Brough in the Lake District (@broughmary) - I like her hashtag #oldshepherdess and Wilma Cameron (@CameronsFarms) on the west coast of Scotland. I met Wilma at a Highland cattle sale four years after I started talking to her on social media.
Social media is great for seeing what others are up to. You can feel pretty isolated when you're farming. I always feel better when I see other farmers' pictures. We understand what it is like when it gets difficult.
Photo credit: Caroline McQuistin | Janet McQuistin
I am always looking for a good shot. One winter I looked after sheep and they followed me in a row. I parked my quad, stood on it and snapped away. I took other pictures of a highland cow peeking over a dike and a calf born on Christmas Eve. I love winter because the landscape is so dramatic.
My photos have attracted thousands of followers from around the world. I get a lot of news from Americans who come to Scotland and want to see a highland cow. Neale, my husband, started a travel business on the back, Kitchen Coos and Ewes. This year we have published virtual tours on Facebook.
I keep thinking that my Instagram page repeats itself, but then an animal surprises me. We also have a lot of wildlife on the farm, including several red squirrels. I don't have one in front of the camera yet. That is my next goal.
To learn how farmers use social media and technology, read an issue of our October issue in September. Subscribe here.
Here are some of Janet von der Farm's best Instagram posts ...
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