I saw a statistic that said agriculture employs more than 21 million American workers (this number is 15% of the total U.S. workforce) – this includes the people who produce, process, sell and trade our food and fiber.  Of these, there are 3.3 million farmers;  those who work on a daily basis tending crops and livestock.  But of that number there are only a little over 300,000 women farmers.  That’s a little discouraging to me.  The good news is that there has been an increase of 29% since 2002.  I’d attribute this to the fact that technology has improved to the point where physical labor, while still very important, is not as essential as it once was in our industry.

Chris & Hannah

Chris & Hannah

Personally, I know many women who are just as involved in the day-to-day operation of their farm as their male counterparts are.  There are so many roles to fill on the farm; driver, purchaser, laborer, bookkeeper, mechanic, marketer, etc.  It takes different skill sets and abilities to cover all the bases.  Some women are doing everything that their male counterparts are undertaking on the farm, while others are taking on the traditional female tasks like record keeping or payroll.  Me?  I like being CFO and handling the office duties, love working with cattle, but am not crazy about doing field work or running machinery.  I will if needed, but it’s just not my thing.  I’m not mechanically inclined, in fact you could say I’m mechanically declined.

Someone who can do it all (run machinery, tackle the book work, and handle the livestock) is my niece, Hannah.  She’s in her 20’s and farms with her fiance, Chris.  Hannah raises calves in addition to raising two of the most adorable children ever.  She’s a fantastic mom and is giving her kids a great country upbringing.  When Hannah was younger she worked for us.  She can run any piece of our machinery and has a terrific cattle sense.   When I need her, she’s always willing to help out at the Farmers Market.  She’s also absolutely beautiful, super smart, ambitious, and can always make me laugh.  Did I mention that she was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes when she was just 9 years old?  Yep, and I’ve never heard her complain about it.  In my opinion, she’s one of the best of the 300,000.  Hopefully, as that number grows we’ll see more like Hannah.

Hannah, cleaned up.

Hannah, cleaned up.

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about this month? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!

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