According to the Census of Agriculture, 56% of all farms have at least one woman decision maker. As a woman in the agriculture industry, this number doesn’t surprise me. Women have played a key role in agriculture and food production throughout history.
There are many women who have made great contributions to agriculture over the centuries. For example, Harriet Williams Russell Strong (1844-1926) pioneered new methods in water conservation and dry land irrigation to supply her walnut plantings. She later became the leading commercial grower of walnuts in the U.S. Dr. Mary Engle Pennington (1872-1952) is another example of a woman who pioneered the industry. Dr. Pennington, known as the “ice woman,” transformed the food distribution system by developing safe and sanitary methods for processing, storing and shipping dairy products, eggs, fish and poultry. These are just a few of the many stories of women who have shaped this ever-changing industry.
Today, women still play an essential role in moving the agriculture industry forward. Women are not only involved in food production but they are also actively involved in companies that are tied to agriculture in other ways, including technology, risk management, economics, nutrition, the environment, trading, insurance, genetics, lending and many more—making a global impact on agriculture.
Working in agriculture is a way of life for both women and men. People who work in agriculture are stewards of the land who are fueled by a passion to produce more with less. As the next generation of young women consider agriculture as a career path, it’s important to note there are countless opportunities available in both traditional roles and emerging fields. It’s also an incredibly rewarding industry to work in. As FFA has said, “We aren’t just cows and plows. We are leaders and achievers, learners and servers, teams with dreams.”
Women play a powerful role in agriculture. Watch our short video to hear from female leaders in the industry.