With the rising average age of farmers and a growing population, a recent women’s butcher seminar highlights how women in ag have never been more important.
There are about to be many boots to fill in the ag industry, and more mouths to feed in the world than ever before. The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed a number of statistics on the demographics of farming: the average age of principal operators is 58.3—and heading closer to retirement age—and the number of principal operators has decreased for both men and women. With the world population growing at a fast pace, the number of farmers is decreasing at a time when they are needed most. This makes the topic of women in ag more important than ever before. A recent women-only meat butchering event at the Bar W Ranch in Texas highlights how women in agriculture can find a foothold in the industry.
Details of the Butcher Seminar at Bar W Ranch
Just like agriculture, the meat butchering industry is male-dominated. It’s something Calvert native Catherine Manterola saw on the family-owned 3,000-acre ranch in Calvert, Texas. Manterola is also the director of sales and marketing for Grrls Meat Camp, the international organization led by founder and CEO, Kate Hill, and sponsor of the event.
It was a trend Hill saw after almost four decades of teaching cooking, butchery, charcuterie, and other food courses at her home and school in France, according to an article in a Texas-based newspaper, The Eagle. She started Grrls Meat Camp as a way to help women interested in butchery learn about the topic and to break into the industry. The four-day program, “Rendezvous,” featured workshops and sessions on topics like breaking down a carcass and the business side of owning a butchery, plus lessons from Texas A&M experts.
Portions of the event were even filmed for FarmHer, a new program featuring women in agriculture on RFDTV. Learn more about cuts of beef in the infographic to the right and the one at the end of the article.
Bonus Women in Ag Event
The event also had an added beef component, extending the event a few days for those who wanted to join. Called the “All-Beef Add-On,” the three-day event featured a cattle roundup on vaccination, branding, notching and tagging, and a hands-on beef hindquarter butchering workshop led by Julia Poplawsky, a co-founder of the Central Texas Meat Collective.
Both events were aimed at bringing women farmers and women ranchers into the industry, not about excluding men. “We’re a women’s organization not because we don’t want to play with the boys, not because we want to be on our own,” Manterola was quoted as saying in the article published by The Eagle. “Whether you are a farmer, a butcher, a chef or just a home consumer interested in meat, this is an industry that is so heavily dominated by men . . . When the men are around, women don’t ask the questions that they want to ask, and they don’t jump in there and get involved.” The point is to get women involved in agriculture, to the benefit of the entire industry.
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