Women in Agriculture Women have always had a central and significant role in the US agriculture sector, and their integral participation and …
Women have always had a central and significant role in the US agriculture sector, and their integral participation and contributions continue to shape the industry today. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women currently make up around 36% of the country’s farmers and ranchers, with a presence of over one million female farmers across the country taking part in a variety of agricultural practices and contributing directly to the production of food and fiber in the United States.
Female participation is also standing strong within other agricultural-related industries, such as the heavy equipment and lubricants business, where women have been rightfully gaining their territory as equally knowledgeable and skilled parts and service managers, sales directors, and other high-ranking positions.
Towards a Sustainable World
Women have been leading the way in sustainable agriculture and conservation efforts and promoting environmentally sound and economically viable practices, such as greenhouse gas reduction and soil health improvement through regenerative agriculture.
Many female farmers in the industry work on family farms or have their own agricultural businesses. Through their hard work, they contribute directly to their families, the local economy, and sustainability efforts by applying traditional knowledge and practices such as crop rotation, intercropping, and agroforestry. Their participation and involvement in agriculture has also been shown to positively impact household food security, nutrition, and income, as well as for preservation and the continued use of traditional methods, seeds, and crop varieties.
They also play an essential role in maintaining social-agricultural traditions, such as hosting and organizing harvest festivals and events to celebrate the end of a crop season. These occasions allow local communities to come together and share the joy and fruits of their hard labor.
Other farming areas where women have traditionally held positions and responsibilities are herb gathering and animal husbandry – mainly for family-run farms. Women have passed on the knowledge of medicinal herbs and plants used for cooking and healing from mother to daughter throughout generations. Some still preserve these practices, naturally passing them down the line. On the other hand, women have often been involved in caring for livestock, taking charge of feeding, watering, and tending to the animal’s health needs.
Hard Workers, Caring Mothers
On top of all their hard work and contributions to the farming industry, women take upon them the most important and amazing challenge of all: motherhood.
There are many upsides to raising children on farms besides fresh air, wide open spaces, and an active, healthy lifestyle. Incentivizing children to participate in daily chores allows them to learn the value of hard work and collaboration from a young age. They are also more likely to develop a genuine appreciation and understanding of where the food comes from and the actual effort behind the entire process— from planting and harvest to the dinner table.
Children raised by farming mothers and families tend to grow up with an enhanced and unique sense of community as they are more likely to develop close relationships with neighbor families and other members of the farming community. Most importantly, growing up on a farm helps to build strong family bonds.
Even though the representation and fundamental participation of women and mothers within the agricultural industry keeps growing, female farmers have often been overlooked and undervalued, which has led to disparities when it comes to topics such as financing, access to land, wages, and other opportunities that can sometimes be taken for granted.
Thankfully, the farming community and the USDA have recognized these issues, launching programs such as the Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The USDA also has its own program to support women farmers and ranchers called Women in Agriculture (WIA).
Other non-profit organizations such as the National Women in Agriculture Association (NWIAA), the American Agri-Women Coalition, and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN), to name a few, are also currently working to provide women with new opportunities and making efforts to support female farmers throughout the country by:
- Offering resources and support such as specific loans, grants, and technical assistance to either start or further develop their agricultural businesses.
- Providing formal education, focused training, and networking opportunities through workshops, conferences, field days, and other events for the farming communities.
- Offering scholarships to women who are interested and invested in pursuing careers in agriculture and agribusiness.
- Supporting the interest and rights of women in agriculture and advocating for policies that benefit all farmers and ranchers.
- Linking women with women in the industry to build food systems and healthy, sustainable rural communities.
- Providing access and/or grants to alternatives for childcare in rural areas.
- Conducting research in the agriculture field.
New initiatives and tools will give women the opportunity to continue growing their presence in the industry by solidifying their knowledge and know-how for the betterment of their communities.
Shout-out to the Moms!
Here at VISCOSITY we firmly believe that mothers, especially the ones currently supporting America’s growth—either working in its fields or the heavy-duty equipment and lubricants business—, deserve special recognition for all their amazing work and dedication. Their role is tough, juggling motherhood and daily responsibilities, something our mothers here at VISCOSITY Oil, and every working mother in this country, can empathize with. As sons and daughters, we’d like to thank all moms making a difference out there, keeping work in fluid motion, and supporting future generations every day. For farm moms: keep rocking! And be assured that VISCOSITY Oil will have your backs with the best products for you to continue growing without worrying about constant downtimes and engine failure. Have a Happy Mother’s Month!
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