The Feminine Face of Agriculture

 

Speaking Point: The fastest growing demographic in organic agriculture is women under 40YO. According to a PennState study, on farms where women are the main farmers, they’re far more likely than men to eschew chemical-intensive production and use “sustainable” agriculture practices – those that are ecologically and socially responsible as well as profitable.

Speaking Point: Women seem to be cornering the market in niche agriculture. Marketing from the farm takes on a whole new direction when promoted by women. This new generation of farmer seems to understand the importance of community and translates that into supporting local food producers, building relationships and organizations and promoting each other for their products. By remaining small scale and within a niche, women farmers are able to support themselves on much smaller farms, without the need for high interest agriculture loans and heavy equipment.

Speaking Point: Access to credit, land, financing and family support have traditionally been barriers to women farmers. By choosing to operate a sustainable or organic farm on a small scale, the opportunity for women to participate in American agriculture increases.

Speaking Point: So, how does a girl become a farmer? Programs such as the Women Agripreneurs program at Maveric Heritage Ranch offer internships and apprenticeships that allow women to learn farming and livestock methods and how to bring a niche product to market. Other organizations such as the Women’sAgriculture Network and Women, Food and Agriculture Network help women farmers to obtain the education, skills and opportunity to become leaders in the agriculture industry.

Speaking Point: Organic and sustainable farms are the way of the future. By supporting our women based farms and providing the needed education for these women, we are insuring the future of our food supply.