Across the nation, nearly 96 percent of U.S. farms are family-owned and operated. For these families, farming is their sustenance—they depend on it for food, shelter, and a living income. Virginia Bezner, daughter of 3B Farms’ owners Lanny and Rita, explains it best, “This land means home. This is my home”.
How Farming Unites Generations
Growing up and working on the family farm taught Virginia how to be responsible and gracious for the life that the land has afforded for her and her family. Although there may be pitfalls to working with relatives, for the Bezner family it has been an incredible blessing that has allowed them to build a strong support team and grow into each of their roles. As Alicia, wife of Brian Bezner shares, “We all work together, we all shoot ideas off each other, and if somebody’s having something go wrong, the other person is always there to kick around a different idea to help out. So, they’re very supportive out here”.
For these two women, the farm represents stability, not only for their own families but for families across the U.S. and the world. As stewards of the land, farming has allowed them to create a legacy and pass on their greatest life lessons to their children. It has also shaped their memories and the people they are today. As Virginia shared with us, one of her most cherished memories comes from when she was a young girl, “When I was growing up, my mom and I and my younger sisters were kind of support staff, and the guys would be out in the field, and we would bring lunch and dinner out when we were cutting corn or wheat”. These memories are what bind the Bezner family together and inspire them to continue building a farm that will one day support the next generation.
The Growing Presence of Women on the Farm
“I love that more women are getting involved in Ag. I think that’s an awesome … because I think that we bring strength to it. And that we can do a lot of the things that people think we can’t, and that we are good at it,” said Alicia Bezner.
As represented by the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the prevalence of women in ag is rising. Unlike previous generations, women are now more heavily involved with labor-intensive roles. As Alicia noted, at 3B Farms they have women working on both sides of their operation, including those that work directly with the care of the cattle.
Today, women are taking an active role in shaping the future of agriculture—nearly 43 percent of the agricultural workforce is now occupied by women. Based on the most recent ag census, there are 1.23 million female farmers and ranchers living and working in the U.S.
As women in agriculture, Alicia and Virginia are strong representations of the positive impact women are making on farming and feeding our world.