Women Ag Producers
It would might come as a surprise to most people to learn that thirty percent of all farm operations here in the United States are owned by women, and that includes active roles in the cattle and dairy industry. A large portion of these women are farmers because they have chosen to be, not because they married into farming or inherited a farm, and because farming has long been a traditionally male dominated industry they find themselves faced with not only the normal day to day challenges of farming or ranching, but the additional challenges of proving themselves quite capable of doing the job. Things have been improving for women in the agriculture industry over the last few years. In fact, according to a U.S. Census of Agriculture between 2002 and 2007 the number of female owned farms in Washington state alone shot up by nearly 44 percent. In response to the growing number of women owned rural businesses federal agencies are reaching out through rural businesswomen’s roundtables in which government officials such as Judith Canales, acting assistant undersecretary with the USDA, discuss issues that are unique to women ag producers.