Women in AG: Sophie Healy-Thow


One for the future: A profile of one of Ireland’s youngest and brightest women in Agriculture, Sophie Healy-Thow, pictured in center above.

Women in AG: Sophie Healy-Thow

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  • 3 years ago

One for the future: A profile of one of Ireland’s youngest and brightest women in Agriculture, Sophie Healy-Thow, pictured in center above.

Upon scrolling through the daily news feeds, I came across the story of a young woman involved in Agriculture. Â Sophie Healy-Thow is her name and she has been recently selected to represent Ireland at the prestigious Youth Agricultural Summit in Brussels this coming October.

The event, organised by Bayer Crop Science, has the theme this year of “Feeding a Hungry Planet”. It aims to address UN sustainability goals on world hunger, achieving food security worldwide and promoting sustainable agriculture methods.

“The Youth Ag-Summit aims to give young leaders the opportunity to foster their ideas, share best practices and explore the role of modern agriculture in feeding a hungry planet.” Says Liam Condon, member of the Board of management of Bayer and the head of the Crop Science division. He also added that “The agricultural industry can contribute strongly to achieving some of the key UN Sustainable Development Goals, but this also requires the active involvement of the next generation”.

There are expected to be over 100 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 from a total of 49 countries at the event. They will share their experiences and work together as a team to help develop innovative, sustainable and implementable solutions to food security challenges facing the planet. It will be held across five days where delegates will undertake group projects, participate in tours and hear from special guest speakers. The sole mission of the event being to generate new ideas which can further develop agriculture worldwide and put these ideas into practice at home.

Achieving her place was no easy task and is a great accomplishment for a girl of her age. Sophie is currently in her final year in secondary school and hopes to eventually study International Development and Food policy upon entering University. This is not Sophie’s one and only accomplishment in her short career thus far. Back in 2014, while working on a group project, her team won the Grand Prize at the Google Science fair. To help scoop the prize Sophie and her team investigated the potential positive impacts bacteria could have on the germination of crops.

It was back in 2014, during this competition, that Sophie observed a high level of ignorance in young people towards food security and global poverty. She aimed, after this, to generate greater awareness of food and its global impact. Sophie said “I decided that I would try to help get this message out and help make our generation aware that we must work together to instigate change to create a sustainable future for our world,”.

Sophie has a bright future in the agriculture sector and its hoped that more young women will soon follow suit. She has recently been named in Time magazine as one of its Top 25 influential teens, and then she was appointed a Global Youth Leader for Mobilising Zero Hunger at the United Nations General Assembly 2015. Sophie, an extremely busy young lady it seems, is also a ONE Campaign Youth Ambassador and a Young Trustee on the board of ActionAid UK. It remains to be seen what she cannot do.

In explaining her role, she said “I give talks on food security and am in the process of building an app for children called Hunger Heroes, which is a series of games that will help children understand what food security is about.” Sophie will be part of a team of four delegates representing the UK and Ireland at the Youth Ag-Summit. Sophie, a young woman full of confidence, determination and hope, had this to say about the future, “Young people have open minds and blue sky thoughts to solve problems, and believe that change can happen. I can’t think of better people to shape what we do in future around food security.”

For a lady so young it is rare to see someone who has such extensive knowledge of the industry, and also someone who puts their money where their mouths are.

Sophie is shining the light for other young ladies in the country to make their ways into the agriculture sector. What might not seem fashionable to most young women, is irrelevant to Sophie.

She and others like her are the future of this industry, and I would like to think we would be more than safe in her very capable hands.

If there are any women in Agriculture out there who would be interested in being featured on our Women in Ag section, please get in touch at info@thatfarming.com

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