The “Other” Blog & Women as the Minority

9 Feb

Awhile back I mentioned that I’m going to be writing on another site for their Women in Agriculture section.  There are four of us who blog for them, covering all things from farming, mommy-ing, cooking, well just about everything.  Last week I posted after seeing a photo on Facebook.  Here is the photo I wrote about…

1797956_10205508251535220_5776286646351391761_nMy post received quite a few comments regarding my opinion on our role as women in agriculture.  Here is the post, let me know what you think!  Do you agree or disagree?

I saw this picture from another woman in agriculture just today on my Facebook feed.  It was from Jenny Burgess who is from Sterling, Kansas.

It got me thinking.  I have been a minority for the past 8 years as a farmer.  I looked up the statistics and of the 3% of us who are farming in the US, only 4% are women.  Of those 4%, only 8% are under 35, and only 1% of those are principle operators.  You can do the math on how rare a 31 year old woman running a farm is.  Basically I know that when I walk into a meeting, it’s no shock that I am usually one of two ladies in the room.

But to be honest, I never really pay any attention to it.  Since I left my small town to head off to Los Angeles of all places to go to college, I know that not many people expected me to return home to the family business of farming.  And I still have people that say they are surprised that I’m doing what I am, even after 8 years.  But I never let that frustrate me or get me down.  I know looking back now, I never really even noticed that I was the minority, I just joined right in. 

I think that is had made me work harder though.  I remember one farmer said they bet I would get rid of our open cab sprayer soon since I had to be out in the cold weather.  But instead of getting under my skin, it just made me hold my head higher when I was out there in the elements.  True confession though, we now have a cabbed sprayer.

I just feel like women in agriculture sometimes get caught up in the fact that they are women and we need to get recognition for it.  I hear a lot of frustrations when women hear the phrase, “When the farm is taken over by the son….” But let’s be honest here, for hundreds of years farms have been taken over traditionally by the sons.  And that’s ok, we are living in a different world now where because of mechanization among many other cultural changes, women can now do many of the jobs that quite frankly I know I couldn’t have done in the past.  I am guessing that 50 years ago I would be at home with my kiddo while my husband was farming, and that’s ok! 

We need to be proud of how far we have come as women, but I think that we also need to quit trying to exclude ourselves by going too far over the feminist line.  Like the photo says, see it as an opportunity to show off your stuff, be the hard worker, the smart business person.  But don’t do it just because you’re a woman, do it because you love what you do and you’re thankful that we can. I don’t want to be a woman that farms, I just like that I’m a farmer, for me it’s that simple.

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