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August 3, 2018

Female Farmers: The Untold Story of American Agriculture

Audra Mulkern, founder, writer, and photographer for The Female Farmer Project™, devotes efforts to raising awareness of women in American agriculture.

In the United States about 14 percent of principal operators are female farmers and they control about 7 percent of farmland. While this number is very low compared to the rest of the agricultural world, the number of female farmers is growing. The Female Farmer Project, a multi-platform documentary project, chronicles women rising in agriculture around the world.

Their website features the progress of a documentary film, stories, portraits, a podcast, books, and more. The documentary preview is available now, and promises to share the untold story of American agriculture.  

Top Commodities for Female Farmers

What crops do female farmers primarily grow in America, you might ask? Statistically, the latest data available from the USDA 2012 Census of Agriculture shares that women in agriculture primarily (26 percent) operate farms with a combination of row crops (including hay production). Twenty-three percent of female farmers in America operate beef cattle operations, and 22 percent operate a combination of animals/livestock. Less than 10 percent of farms operated by women grow grains and oilseeds.

Women in Agriculture from a World-Wide Perspective

On a global scale, about 40 percent of the farming workforce is women. In the United States, female-led farms have almost tripled in the United States since 1982, but that’s not fast enough for the Female Farmer Project. In some countries, the female farmer workforce is more than 50 percent.

Economically speaking, the rise in the female ag workforce in the United States can only help an industry that is now meeting tougher competition from around the world than it has ever seen.

While there is no data on the economic input that accompanies a rise in female farming, it will likely be significant and there is also a complementing social benefit. For example, in India, a policy is being sought to make sure women farmers get enhanced access to resources such as credit, technology, and training. A recent survey showed gender-specific intervention will raise productivity of smaller farms.

At AgAmerica Lending, our team has a vested interest in the success of the American farmer, male or female, and knows the obstacles a grower or rancher can face in starting an agribusiness or buying farmland. We have many agricultural lending solutions that can be customized for the needs of your agribusiness. For instance, with our industry-unique 10 Year Line of Credit, you can say goodbye to annual paperwork renewals, pre-payment penalties, and mandatory rest periods. For more information, contact us today or check out our land loan calculator to see how much you could save.

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