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March, 2012

Women In Agriculture

In this Issue:

Women In Agriculture

Young Woman in Ag SettingAgricultural issues are complicated by layers of socioeconomic, inheritance, and environmental concerns. Women have always been active participants in the production of food. Recognition was slow in coming despite their contributions. Women farmers may have felt like Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield. A variety of changes have led to shifts in recognition of the women who make up 30% of all primary farm operators. These changes include:
  • Inclusion of females in National Future Farmers of America
  • The Sustainable Agriculture movement
  • Increased numbers of farm widows and female ownership of farmland
  • More detailed census information

Female students were allowed full participation in National Future Farmers of America External link opens in a new window beginning in 1969. Currently, nearly half of the 520,000 membership is female. Half of the elected positions are held by females. Clearly the young women have lived up the FFA motto which says, “I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others.” National FFA has allowed two generations of young women to explore the wide variety of agricultural careers and learn management skills.

The Sustainable Agriculture movement proved that successful food production can take place on very small plots. This allowed more women to become involved in agriculture without obtaining financial backing. Sustainable Agriculture also allowed women to take leadership roles in agricultural organizations. More than half of leadership positions in Sustainable Agriculture organizations are held by women. Still, only a small percentage of women hold positions of leadership in traditional commodity organizations.

Individuals with an interest in agriculture have many career choices in addition to traditional crop production or raising livestock. The following career paths can all impact food production.

  • Entomology
  • Botany
  • Viticulture
  • Soil Conservation/Land Management
  • Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Horticulture
  • Agronomy
  • Aquaculture

Illinois Pathways Link opens in a new window provides information to help individuals explore the agriculture, food, and natural resources career pathway cluster. Individuals can also use the site to find potential agriculture employers.


Resources for Individuals with Interest in Agriculture:

Resources for Persons in Farm Related Businesses:

General Resources for Individuals, Businesses and Workforce Partners:

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