Women's Figures: Myriam Chevillon, cattle farmer in Brittany
On March 8, International Women's Day was celebrated around the world. Taste France is continuing to recognize women. Myriam Chevillon, who raises a small herd of Jersey and Pie Noir cows in Brittany, talks about her motivations and challenges.
What is your background?
My parents and grandparents were farmers. My father raised Limousin beef cattle. I've always enjoyed being around animals, but I started my professional life as a special needs teacher, a job I did for more than ten years. After a while, I missed being around nature and began running the farm stay business on my father's farm (vacation rentals, on-site sales…). That experience made me want to become a farmer. In 2018, I gained my farm management diploma (Brevet Professionnel Responsable d'Exploitation Agricole (BPREA)).
Have you faced any challenges running your farm?
Although I am a single child, my father didn't want to pass the family farm on to me. So, I had to set up my own business outside of the family. After several months of looking, I finally found a farm and rented land in Langan, Brittany. Nowadays, my main challenges are at the bank. I am struggling to get the financing I need to buy the whole farm, due to the fact I am a single mother. I feel as though the banks constantly question my ability to commit in the long term, and still require more guarantees from women than from men…
Can you tell us more about your cattle?
I opted for hardy breeds, Jerseys and Pie Noirs, and a small herd, 38 animals in total. Of course, they produce less milk than traditional dairy herds, but with very good levels of protein and an excellent cheese yield. My produce is certified organic, and I am trying to feed my herd autonomously. I have chosen to produce quality over quantity.