It’s not new for women to be involved in agriculture. Agriculture is not solely a man’s world, not today and it certainly wasn’t 50 years ago. Farming and ranching has always been a family affair. Woman on the farm have always done what needs to be done, 50 years ago that meant working in the field, milking cows, cooking for threshing crews and driving teams.
Today’s woman in farming are just as busy, but now they’re running air seeders, combines, pulling calves, managing farm finances, gardening, cooking and caring for their children and elderly parents.
In 2011, 27 percent of farm operators were woman, that’s over 80,000 female farmers. Most were on farms with two or more operators, but 10,740 were sole operators. These percentages have held steady since 2001, when woman made up just over 26 percent of farm operators in Canada. Family farms are usually partnerships not solo acts.
We also have woman working in other areas of the Ag sector in everything from plant breeding, product specialists to financing. Not everyone liked this back in the day and woman were warned that hired men wouldn’t like working for a woman, but that hasn’t stopped woman from farming, ranching or any other work considered a man’s job.
Things have changed from 50 years ago. It’s not unusual to see woman in leadership roles. And though some might view the typical farmer as a man in overalls and a pitch fork, most in the industry know this is not an accurate picture.
My own experience in agriculture has been pretty positive. There are still the few who would rather talk to a man than a woman – There are still a few among us who want to push us into the dark ages, but in all its been fairly positive and nothing like it was many years ago.