Women in Business

Overcoming both age and gender bias in farming.

Alison Davie, Owner North Paddock Farms, Taber Alberta

W by ATB

Alison is a farmer. And a woman. She hopes to see more women embracing the possibilities in agriculture. Allowing themselves to create the life they want on a farm - whatever that looks like for them.

Alison Davie grew up knowing she wanted to be a farmer. Her parents encouraged her every step of the way. Including offering her to come back home after finishing her agribusiness degree to run North Paddock Farms (their family farm) in Taber, AB.

Video: A farmers's experience with W by ATB.

Coming back home to run the family farm wasn't quite what she had in mind at 23 years old but Alison couldn’t let the opportunity pass her by. Even having been raised in the potato business, it took a little while for the larger farming community to accept Alison’s new role. They would often look for ways around her - trying to get her dad’s opinion. But that didn’t deter her.

Alison focused her journey on becoming qualified to be the best farmer she could be, and let everyone else “get over it” if they didn’t think she should be running things.

North Paddock Farms, Taber Alberta

North Paddock Farms, Taber Alberta.

North Paddock Farms was started by Alison’s parents in the 90’s and was focused on growing sugar beets. In 2000, the farm began growing potatoes. In 2013, Alison and her now husband took over the operation. In the 10 years since the transition, the farm has more than doubled its potato acres and added rotational crops that can carry the farm through hard potato years.

Alison’s second year running the farm wasn’t a trial by fire–it was a trial by weather! It was the worst year in the farm’s history. They got 8 inches of rain right before harvest followed by a huge cold snap that drove temperatures to minus five degrees - killing all the plants. Alison sat atop piles of rotting potatoes wondering what to do next, and if that would be the right decision for the farm.

Making it through that season drove her business focus towards diversification. The farm now grows timothy hay, seed canola, wheat, flax and most recently has added garlic to their crops.

North Paddock Farms recently added garlic to their crops.

North Paddock Farms recently added garlic to their crops.

Alison Davie sits at her desk in her office
"I choose to work with W by ATB because my RM, Ryan, likes to come out and understand our operation. Every farm is unique, and because he’s been to the farm so often, he knows our crops, our cash flow cycles and our family dynamics. Because he wants to understand us, we want to work with him."

Alison Davie

Owner North Paddock Farms

Alison Davie with her regional manager, Ryan, an accredited W by ATB specialist

Ryan Kwiatkowski, ATB Relationship Manager, meets with Alison and her husband at North Paddock Farms.

Alison’s regional manager Ryan is an accredited W by ATB specialist and has completed the W by ATB everywoman Accreditation Program. Through the program, Ryan was trained in unconscious bias and gender intelligence. “Understand Her” is one of the core values of W by ATB, and his relationship with Alison embodies that value.

Alison’s message for women interested in working in agriculture, “Don’t let your thoughts of what a gender role should be decide that for you. Do what you need to do.”

A woman in a professional shirt smiling in front of an office building

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