Women in agriculture have been a cornerstone in the industry; explore female farm leaders and why they’re so important.
There’s no denying that women have always played an important role in agriculture, but the role of female farm leaders is one that has often been understated. Take a look at the statistics concerning female farm leaders, why they’re important, and how women in ag can find support.
Female Farm Leaders by the Numbers
According to the USDA, the 2012 Ag Census revealed nearly 1 million women are growing crops and raising livestock as part of the U.S. agriculture industry. Nearly 300,000 thousand of those women were the principle operators, or the female farm leaders in charge of the farm’s day-to-day operations. It works out that 14 percent of the country’s 2.1 million farms are led by women. In 2012, these women were responsible for nearly $13 billion in ag products.
Additionally, women are also filling leadership roles related to ag, such as researchers, scientists, engineers, economists, business owners, and CEOs, more than ever before.
The Importance of Female Farm Leaders
There are numerous reasons why promoting women in ag leadership roles is important. The first is simply that the women who contribute to the daily activities that feed and clothe our nation deserve recognition. Additionally, with more and more women stepping in to ag leadership roles, it’s important for any gender-based hurdles—such as pay discrepancies based on gender—that may stand in a woman’s path to a leadership position be removed as soon as possible.
Furthermore, women must step into ag leadership roles, or those roles may go unfilled. The ag leaders of today continue to grow older, and fewer and fewer young people are choosing agriculture as a career. As the world’s population continues to expand, the need for female farm leaders to increase will only intensify.
Resources for Female Farm Leaders
Women looking to fill agriculture leadership roles can find many resources, including:
- The USDA’s Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network. This network is “designed to support and engage women across all areas of agriculture and to foster professional partnerships between women with shared backgrounds, interests, and professional goals.”
- org’s Women in Agriculture. This network “helps women in agriculture improve their quality of life by providing them with resources to make better business decisions while maintaining a balance with family and personal obligations.”
- The USDA’s New Farmer, Women in Ag. Features “Opportunities for women to grow, learn from one another, and lead within their industries.”
AgAmerica Lending supports all facets of farming and agriculture in the U.S. We have a strong commitment to help the growers and producers of the U.S. expand and prosper using our innovative lending programs featuring low interest rates, long amortizations, and an outstanding 10-year line of credit.
Meet some of the women on AgAmerica Lending’s management team:
- Jackie Toenes: Chief credit officer/ Chief operating officer.
- Phoebe Moll: VP/ Director of marketing & strategy.
- Julia Hubbard: Chief financial officer.
USDA photo by Alberto Romero