The number of women in agriculture is increasing.
The 2017 US Agricultural Census, which has been investigating the gender, race, and ethnic origin of major farmers since 2007, reported that more than 36% of American farmers are women. 29% are key operators and 78% of all female producers are involved in daily decision making.
In Virginia, female farmers are involved in 23,575 farms, of which 16,456 are major owners.
Joan Jones, who runs the Dark Reef Farm in Appomattox County, is one of them.
“I feel like women have played more roles than they are always aware of,” she said.
At her husband’s family’s third-generation tobacco farm, Jones plants and harvests dark leaf tobacco, soybeans, and wheat, overseeing the various agritourism of operations and self-selecting activities. She is also in charge of farm paperwork.
“If you’re doing that, you know what’s making money, what’s not, what’s losing, and what’s gaining.”
Jones, who also works as a full-time Virginia Cooperative Expansion Agent in Charlotte County, admits that it was difficult to get people to take her seriously in the early days, but as President of Appomattox County Agricultural Administration 6 The year helped build her respect.
A place for everyone in ag
Sarah Morton, a third-generation farmer, believes that there is a place in the agricultural “culture” where everyone can participate.
She became the main operator of the Cattle Run Farm in Green County in 2011. Her father used to run a beef cattle farm, but when he reduced his business, Morton and her brother Ralph, a military veteran, took over.
“After my brother returned, I started a step-by-step approach to diversifying my business beyond my hobbies,” she said. They connected with Virginia State University’s Virginia Cooperative Extended Small Farm Outreach Program, where they were introduced to blackberry production.
“Today we are producing prickly blackberries and stilt vegetables, and we are currently using a cultivation tower to produce indoor lettuce and Swiss chard,” Morton said.
Last year it expanded to grass-fed pork, and in the fall it plans to build a tall tunnel to extend the growing season for agricultural products. Morton will launch an on-site agribusiness this spring. This is a rental accommodation called Sara James Inn, named after her parents.
Morton not only manages the farm’s strategic initiatives, but also supports planting and harvesting. She also owns a small berry farm called Five Oaks Farm in Albemarle County and plans to expand to viticulture.
Jennifer Reach, a farmer in Rockbridge County, also manages most of the work associated with family dairy farms.
She is a herder at the Ingleside Dairy Farm, a role she inherited two months after she earned her degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech in 2006. Since then, third-generation farmers have managed 340 dairy cows on the farm.
Hill decides when to vaccinate animals and how to deal with health problems. She also handles breeding responsibilities and facilitates changes in groups within the herd.
Ingleside has been equipped with robotic milking machines since 2012, and the technology pointed out by Leech has reduced the dairy industry’s focus on brown.
“You don’t have to have wide shoulders to work anymore,” she said.
Encouraged by the growing number of women choosing a career in production agriculture, Reach said this trend made sense.
“In general, women tend to grow up and be considerate,” she said. “When you think of a farm, that’s exactly what you need. You need a patient person to grow and care for animals and crops. It’s no wonder women are attracted to this kind of career. “
The number of women engaged in agriculture is on the rise. Here’s how female farmers take more responsibility on farms in Virginia:Home & Garden
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