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March 7, 2019

Women in Ag Grow Their Presence on Farms & Ranches Across the U.S.

Find out why more women than ever before are embarking on careers in agriculture and learn more about the strong support systems available to women in ag.

In 2015, women represented 38 percent of about 300,000 people involved in making decisions for the farms that sold food directly to consumers, retailers, institutions and local food intermediaries. According to the New York Times, women are also reclaiming major roles on ranches – a trend that’s largely due to ranching evolving into a well-rounded industry focused on business, animal husbandry, and the environment rather than just physical strength.

Additionally, women are also growing their presence in agriculture as viticulturists and as educators, while others are serving as large animal veterinarians and food science specialists. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that female farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers out-earned their male counterparts in 2017, with the weekly median salary for women in agriculture coming in at $1,114 and men taking home $963. That is significant considering agriculture is one of only 10 occupations in which that’s the case.

In short, opportunities abound for women seeking careers in the agriculture industry, and that’s not changing any time soon.

More Women Step into Leadership Roles on Farms and Ranches

Additionally, female farmers and ranchers are a part of the largest growing segment of people working in agriculture. The New York Times states that women are “leading the trend of sustainable ranching and raising grass-fed breeds of cattle”. Others point to factors such as farm wives outliving their husbands, and daughters returning to work on their family’s operation after attending college and ultimately coming back to the family farm. CNBC also reports there’s been a recent increase in women starting their own small farms, particularly operations that embrace diversification and may include side businesses such as bed and breakfasts and community-supported agriculture operations.

The relatively new prevalence of resources that address many of the questions and challenges often navigated by women who are interested in working in agriculture, may be helping the trend continue, too.

For example, the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership program connects women with training and education to help them become powerful advocates for today’s agriculture industry, and the nonprofit Annie’s Project – Education for Farm Women seeks to strengthen women’s roles in modern farm and ranch enterprises by sharing information about human resource issues, business plans, financial documentation, property titles, cash and crop share leases, marketing plans, retirement and estate planning, and types of insurance.

FarmHer is also a platform shining a light on women in agriculture, documenting their individual journeys and fostering connections, empowerment, and inspiration through mediums such as photography, television, radio/podcast productions and events.

Women in Ag Conference Helps Attendees Grow Business-Management Skills

Another avenue offering support for female farmers and ranchers are events like the Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference, an annual function with workshops and presentations designed to teach attendees how to better manage risk, improve their farms and ranches, and become more successful operators and business partners.

With the theme “Take Charge of Change,” this year’s two-day conference took place February 21-22 in Kearney, Nebraska, and focused on the five areas of agricultural risk management: production risk, market risk, financial risk, human risk and legal risk.

In addition to attending workshops, those who went to the conference had the opportunity to hear from Marji Guyler-Alaniz, founder of FarmHer, who discussed the inspiration for and evolution of her business, as well as the image of women in agriculture.

AgAmerica Supports Women in Agriculture

At AgAmerica we support women in agriculture and strive to celebrate the critical role they play as an American farmer, rancher, and landowner. Whether you want to expand an existing farm or begin a new agricultural operation, AgAmerica Lending is here to help. With low interest rates, long amortizations and an outstanding 10-year line of credit, we offer financing opportunities to farmers and their families who may not have qualified for conventional financing. Ready to learn more? Contact us today to speak with our team of experts.

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