How Women Are Changing Agriculture, Despite a History of Discrimination

Posted on Nov 29 2018 - 3:00pm by UOG

Women have been contributing to American agriculture (often invisibly) for centuries. Now, they’re stepping into the profession’s spotlight in a new way.

When the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) surveyed more than 3,500 farmers under 40 in 2017, 60 percent of the farmer respondents were women. And in 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Census of Agriculture found that 14 percent of principal farm operators were women, a nearly 300 percent increase since 1978, when it began counting women as farmers.

Before that, as “farm wives,” women’s work went unnoticed. “There are real implications from that,” says Audra Mulkern, who started the Female Farmer Project to call attention to how women were missing from agricultural narratives. “What have we missed because we haven’t heard women’s voices? What lessons did we not learn? What knowledge is missing?”


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