Many women believe that the agriculture industry is mostly for men. However, what most women do not realize is that the percentage of women in the agriculture industry continues to increase almost every day. Women’s roles on the farm have increased greatly over the last 25 years. Research has shown that since the 1980’s, women now run about 14 percent of nation’s farms. And with the increasing about of females sparking an interest in agriculture, this number will only get larger overtime. What should make women feel better about their roles on the farm is that you do not have to be married to a farmer, with the stereotypical title of a “farmer’s wife”. Since 2002, America has seen a 32 percent increase in female-operated farms, which goes to show just how important a woman’s role in agriculture truly is! Most of these farm operations are small, where women simply grow food and raise livestock.
Along with raising children and tending to duties inside the home such as cooking and laundry, women also tend to chores outside. Some duties include feeding animals such as livestock, swine, goats, etc, scooping manure, raking straw, cleaning stalls, and many other chore. Females are also having an increasing role during planting and harvest season. From operating a combine, to driving a grain truck, these jobs are no longer seen only fit for a man!
However, a woman’s role in agriculture does not only pertain to the farm. Even small things such as growing a garden or owning horses are hobbies that women, as well as men like to do, that are agriculture related.
Agriculture is not only increasingly in rural areas, but in urban areas as well. Seed corporations such as Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Syngenta are increasingly stressing the need for females in their company. Positions such as sales, marketing and business planning, advertising and corporate communications are areas that these corporations, as well as smaller companies, are increasingly looking for women to fill. This goes to show that agriculture truly is more than just “cows, plows and sows”! Women in other countries who make our clothing are contributing to the agriculture industry as well.
Women are needed in the agriculture industry now, more than ever. According to the 2011 Hunger Report, “the low social, economic, and political status of women in many parts of the developing world, particularly rural women, contributes to high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition”. Also, the average farm held by women is only 40 acres, while the average stretch farmed by men is more than three times as large, with 149 acres. But with number of females taking an interest in agriculture, this number is sure to grow over the next few years. The number of females majoring in some area of agriculture in our nation’s universities growers a little every few years, as does the number of females going back to the family farm in hopes of one day managing it.
Every day, women, as well as men are making a difference and improving modern day agriculture. With roles on the farm and in corporate offices increasingly demanding a woman’s attention, you can be sure to see many more females out on the form or in the office, trying to make a difference in today’s agriculture industry!