What's Your Connection to Agriculture?
You’ve heard the saying that everyone’s involved in agriculture because they eat. That’s true, but from this perspective we’re simply the consumer. Now don’t get me wrong. We need consumers. I’m a consumer, too. But I want to focus on a little closer connection to agriculture than just eating the end product. I bet if you work a little, you can make a direct connection to production agriculture.
For many of us, that connection is as close as our home garden or orchard. Those fresh fruits and vegetables didn’t magically show up one day on your table. Somebody in the household had to prepare a seedbed and plant seeds or plants. You had to water, weed and tend, until it was time for harvest. And then you finally had to prepare the food for your table. That sounds a lot like farming. You just did it on a little smaller scale.
But how far are you from commercial scale agriculture? How many generations do you have to count back to find a farmer in the family? With less than two percent of Americans actively involved in farming today, it’s probably four or five generations for many folks. For me, I’m two generations removed. Both of my grandparents farmed.
Another unique aspect of farming is the number of women involved. According to the US Census of Agriculture, the share of U.S. farms operated by women nearly tripled, from 5% in 1978 to 14% in 2007. In the latest census, the share of women farmers hasn't changed dramatically. In 2012 it was still 13.7% compared to 13.9% five years earlier. And whether you’re the principal operator, have inherited farm ground, married into a farm family, or for a host of other reasons, women find themselves in a position that requires knowledge of managing a farm operation with little background experience or training to do so.
To help bridge this gap, we’ve designed an educational series to provide information and training on a wide variety of farm management topics that will be catered directly to farm women. The series is called the “Farmer's Daughter”, and women with any level of experience in farm management or with any degree of farm involvement are invited to attend.