Did you know that women count for over 30 percent of all US farmers? During the last US Census of Agriculture back in 2012, there were 969,672 women farmers! Here are some other facts on women in agriculture:
*Women farm on a total of 301,386,860 acres in the US
*Women have a $12.9 billion economic impact in the US- $6 billion in crop sales and $6.9 billion in livestock sales
*14% of the nation’s 2.1 million farms had a female principal operation in 2012
*Women control 7% of US farmland
*Women account for 3% of farm sales
*Texas had the most women farmers
*Arizona had the highest proportion of women farmers (45% of all farmers in the state)
An article from the USDA titled “Women in Agriculture” states that it’s women’s responsibility to make sure that the next generation of women is educated, encouraged, and empowered to take on the challenges of meeting the world’s growing food, fuel and fiber needs. Also, women play a vital role in farm and ranch operations all over the globe and are a key part of the farming operation whether that’s from the actual laborer’s in the field, managers who supervise labor and production, marketing and selling the product, or educating their communities. Women have a unique opportunity to be the change in the agriculture industry states an article written by USDA titled “Women in Agriculture”. Women in agriculture have a powerful story of stewardship, innovation, and productivity to tell and women must encourage one another to tell the story of agriculture to generations to come.
Do you know who one of my favorite icons are ever since I was little? Rosie the Riveter! Rosie’s image with the saying “We Can Do It” was to encourage women during WWII to join the workforce. This now still trickles into our culture as women are now stronger than ever in putting their mind to what they want to do as a career and doing it. If you want to be a female in the agriculture industry, then pursue it just as I did! I hope to be an example for the younger females in the agriculture industry and lead by example. Read along to hear more about my story on how I became a female farmer.
Picture Credits to: Rosie the Riveter
I grew up with two older sisters and no brothers (who are traditionally expected to work on the farm), so we were raised like the boys. We were expected to get up early, work hard, and then do it all over again the next day. It was a lot of hard work growing up on the farm, but it also brought a sense of accomplishment and empowerment to work hard and see your work which is healthy, thriving animals. I also fell in love with the animals on the farm. The cattle are such curious, intricate creatures that are enjoyable to learn about. It was challenging to find the calmest and least stressful way to interact with the cattle while still being their caretaker.
I was encouraged to pursue my dreams of farming by having strong role models, specifically female (but not limited to only females). My mom showed me the power of being a hard-working mom, great mother, and an overall honorable person which made me see firsthand that you can do whatever you put your heart into. Also, my internship with Five Mary’s Farms also encouraged me to pursue farming by showing me the power of confidence. Mary at Five Mary’s Farm owned her own business, worked hard, and was a great mom to her girls. This showed me (in addition to my own mother) that I can be a great mom one day and successful in the business world which is such a powerful thing to know!
If I could give any female interested in pursuing a career in the agriculture industry advice it would be to have confidence. Confidence is key in this! You must know that you can and will work as hard as anyone else. If you expect yourself to outwork everyone else, you will.