Shelby Carson, a third-generation dairy farmer from Listowel, Ontario, takes her nine-month-old daughter to work with her on the family’s dairy farm every day. Despite knowing that having a baby would change things, stepping away from the farm was never an option for Carson, who runs David Carson Farm and Auction Services Ltd. with her partner, Johnny Franken, and her father and grandfather.

Carson recently gained attention on social media after sharing a photo of her daughter, Audrey, sleeping soundly in her car seat inside a John Deere tractor while Carson plowed an old hay field. Audrey has been accompanying her mother on the farm since she was six weeks old, and Carson says she loves it and falls asleep as soon as she gets into any piece of equipment.

According to Statistics Canada’s latest census release on the state of agriculture in Canada, the number of women operating farms has increased since 2016, with 79,795 women identifying as female farm operators in 2021 compared to 77,970 five years earlier.

Peggy Brekveld, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and a mother of five, says that children learn as they live among farmers and develop an understanding of animal behaviorhard work, and how to work the soil and treat it well.

Carson’s partner, Johnny Franken, describes her as an amazing and hardworking woman who takes Audrey to work with her every day, even though it’s not easy. Despite the chaos of farming while being a mother, Carson enjoys it and feels that it’s natural for her to do so. When asked what she’ll do when Audrey starts walking, Carson says she’s excited for her daughter to sit in the buddy seat of the tractor without a car seat.

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