Story: Women Taking Over Farms

Story: Women Taking Over Farms

In “Women Taking Over Farms, Learning the Lay of the Land” Corrie MacLaggan writes about farmers who are simultaneously “beginning” and “veteran,” new to farming, but not new to the farm. In this story from the Texas Tribune (though also published on newyorktimes.com), we’re privy to some interesting statistics about the changing face of agriculture (more women are principal farm owners, up 30% between 2002 and 2007, though still only 14% of all owners); we learn about Annie’s Project, a farm management program for women; and we hear from women who have found themselves farming, or who have chosen to farm, in Texas - the challenges they face, the choices they make, and what farming means to them. Read an excerpt from the article below, and access the entire article here. Excerpt: DeDe Cummins’s family has farmed in the Texas Panhandle for a century, but no one expected her to have any interest in the work. “I was a girl,” said Ms. Cummins, 53, a high school special education teacher in Canyon, south of Amarillo. “It’s always been a man’s business, always.” But six years ago, ownership of the land on which her grandfather grew wheat and ran cattle transferred to Ms. Cummins and her two sisters. Now Ms. Cummins, the only sister who did not sell her share, is scrambling to learn about the business of farming. This fall she took a six-session management workshop for farm women at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo to broaden her knowledge, going beyond what little she had learned growing up on the farm. The series of classes, called Annie’s Project, teaches women across the country about farm management, including legal issues like leasing contracts, and financial topics like cash flow, balance sheets and measuring profitability. The number of women running farms in Texas and across the country is growing, though women are still a minority.

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