Women in Production Agriculture – By the Numbers

By Sheila Karpf, Environmental Working Group Legislative and Policy Analyst. For the full Report Click HERE

2010/2011 Board Membership at Five National Commodity Organizations

Male Female Total % Male
National Corn Growers Assoc. 14 1 15 93.3%
American Soybean Assoc. 45 1 46 97.8%
National Assoc. of Wheat Growers 51 1 52 98.1%
National Cotton Council 92 0 92 100.0%
US Rice Producers Assoc. 23 0 23 100.0%
TOTALS 225 3 228

And since we’re keeping score, the leaders of all three national organic food and agriculture organizations are women: The Organic Center is lead by Joan Boykin, the Organic Trade Association is helmed by Christine Bushway and Maureen Wilmot runs the show at the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Looking deeper into the gender statistics around farming, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that women now operate 14 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms. More important, though, is how these women farm the land and conserve natural resources. The Organic Farming Research Foundation reports that 22 percent of organic farmers are women. They, and their fellow male organic farmers, follow practices that  conserve soil and biological diversity by rotating crops and avoiding synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones and genetically-modified seed.

The Foundation also notes that “women… are far more likely to allocate land to vegetables and herbs (male = 33 percent, female = 47 percent of acreage). They are likewise far less likely than men to devote land to field crops (male = 44 percent, female = 28 percent of acreage).” Women are also more likely to manage smaller farms. The average farm held by women is only 40 acres, while the average spread farmed by men is more than three times as large – 149 acres

1 Comment on Women in Production Agriculture – By the Numbers

  1. I love being a berry farmer and especially when kids in our CSA love my berries

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