| 18.2°C Dublin

chick-tok Mayo poultry farmer proves to be online sensation as her quirky farm life videos go viral

Proud farmer Jennifer Dempsey is hatching a plan to attract more women into the agri-industry

Close

Jennifer with some of the chicks that are a global attraction

Jennifer with some of the chicks that are a global attraction

Jennifer with some of the chicks that are a global attraction

Meet the plucky poultry farmer who is winging her way to TikTok stardom.

Jennifer Dempsey, 28, from Mayo, has attracted lots of attention online after posting snippets of the 70,000-plus chickens and 220 piglets she tends to on her family’s farm in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Giving it welly across her social media platforms, the viral sensation, who swapped pharmacy for farm life, is relishing sharing quirky videos to give people a real insight into a day in the life down on the farm.

With fans now flocking to Jennifer’s social media accounts @Girl_about_the_farm, proud farmer Jennifer is hatching a plan to attract more women into the agri-industry.

“I had one video of the chickens that went viral and got 500,000 views.

“I had comments from all over the world – Japan, Israel and America. It just blew up.

“I set up the account in January for the craic but never thought it would get so much attention.”

Close

MUCKING IN: Having fun with mischievous little piglets. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

MUCKING IN: Having fun with mischievous little piglets. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

MUCKING IN: Having fun with mischievous little piglets. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

 

Refusing to put all her eggs in the one ­basket, Jennifer, who previously worked in the UK in a pharmacy role, returned to home pastures to work the farm and promote her family’s thriving seaweed company, Sealac Limited.

 “I love this job and I honestly don’t think farmers get the credit they ­deserve for the work they do.

“I think farmers are maybe looked at as kind of beneath people, which just isn’t the case. I am proud to be a farmer and I suppose people don’t understand the work that goes into it. My ­parents never have a day off, they work 365 days a year. 

“We have pigs and chickens and they always come first. My parents would go on holidays separately because someone has to be at home.

“We have monitors hooked up to feeding machinery and if anything goes wrong, if animals are sick, my parents are up in the middle of the night.

“There’s a lot that goes on behind closed doors. It’s hard work, it’s hard labour, and it’s constant.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Close

Jennifer Dempsey, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

Jennifer Dempsey, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

Jennifer Dempsey, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

 

 But for Jennifer, who mucks in with her three sisters, it’s absolutely worth it.

“I think girls are just as hard working as men. There’s no difference. I grew up on a farm and never turned away from a job. 

“I think for young girls that don’t know what they want to get into, maybe seeing women on farms might encourage them.”

Hoping to herd new talent into the sector, Jennifer added: “As someone who messaged me said, ‘We’re not all backward, bootcut jean, flannel shirt wearing people’.

“Our farming profiles promote farming, and show that it can be rewarding, enjoyable and profitable all at the same time. It shows how much it has evolved over the years. Hopefully, our accounts encourage the younger generation to apply to ag colleges and help them to choose a career in agriculture.”

Aside from running the family’s hugely-successful seaweed company alongside her sister, Rebecca, the part-time farmer, is also responsible for weaning, tagging, vaccinating and generally caring for  the piglets.

 “I love the pigs. You never know what trouble they will be getting up to. I love going in there and I love the piglets you know, chatting with the sows and giving them scratches. They love the attention. It isn’t always like that, last week a pig bit me on the leg.”

Jennifer’s parents, Martin and Mhairi, have run the well-regarded pig and poultry farm for the last 30 years, meaning Jennifer has had a truckload of misadventures growing up.

“We’ve been late for Christmas mass so many times because animals have got loose and then we would have to walk in late and it is so embarrassing. Even on my sister’s communion the cows broke out the field.”

For all the postives that have come with her farming profile, there has been some occasional  negativity. 

“I got comments from people saying I was a murderer. Mom gets worried because people camp on the farms over in UK. People were protesting at a farm that supplied a ­McDonald’s a chain.”

Speaking of documentary’s such as Netflix’s Cowspiracy which has criticised farming, Jennifer said: “I definitely think there’s two sides and when you’re making shows like that, you’re targeting a certain audience. 

“Farmers are such hard workers. Rain, hail, sleet and snow, they’re out looking after their ­livelihood. I just think nowadays, it’s all, ‘I don’t eat meat and don’t eat that’.”  

Close

MAKING BIG WAVES:Jennifer with the popular seaweed they sell. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

MAKING BIG WAVES:Jennifer with the popular seaweed they sell. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

MAKING BIG WAVES:Jennifer with the popular seaweed they sell. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

 

Then there are the offers of courtship. “Most days I look like I’ve been dragged through a bush with the hair just on top of my head. It’s definitely not the most glamorous job but I have been asked on the odd date,” she said.

I have a boyfriend, but fair play to them because, you know, everything now is on Tinder. So leave it to a farmer to ask straight out, ‘do you want to go for a coffee’.”

And on her online fame, she says: “I can’t believe the interest people have. But my job comes first, so it is hard to post content all the time. I’m not looking for sponsorship or deals I am just enjoying doing what I’m doing.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy