Saturday, September 24, 2016

What it means to be a FarmHer

While grocery shopping this week, the girls and I were stocking up on bottled pop that was on sale, as this is a staple during fall harvest.

Miss A started asking questions as the six packs stacked up in the cart, "Are these for you, and Daddy, and Grandpa?"

I replied, "Yes. These are for harvest.  We should be in the field soon so Mom is stocking up now while I have a chance and they're on sale."

A woman also checking out the pop special overhead our conversation (Because really, who couldn't with how loud Miss A asks her questions...  Plus, we kind of stick out in the grocery store at 10 in the morning on a Tuesday with three girls ages three and under as my shopping companions.) and casually said to me, "Oh, you must be a farmer's wife."

Without even thinking about it I responded, "No, I'm a farmer."

She gave me a puzzled look and said again, "No, a farmer's wife."

What it means to be a FarmHer
Driving the tractor
and grain cart during harvest
And I again reinstated, "No, I'm a farmer.  I might not be in the shop right now with my husband working on the combine, but I do take care of the financials for our farm, drive a tractor all fall and spring, and help with daily chores.  So, I think that makes me a farmer."

I kind of stunned the woman and even myself with my quick reply.  So I smiled at her and she smiled back at me and said, "Well, yes, I guess you are a farmer."

I don't know if it was the Millennial in me or what, but it was easy for me to say and confirm that I was indeed a farmer.  But have women farmers always been that confident, or have they even thought of themselves as something more than a farmer's wife?

I got to thinking about this more and more as I tagged along through social media at FarmHer's Grow event for young women yesterday.  FarmHer works to "shine a light on women in agriculture", and for the second year has led Grow events targeted at females ages 15-23 to explore and get inspired about the possibilities in agriculture.  I would have loved an event like this when I was in high school and college!  The thing is, women have always been a part of agriculture, and I believe as time goes on, are becoming a bigger segment of the agriculture workforce, whether it be as a scientist, researcher, veterinarian, farmer, etc.

What it means to be a FarmHer - working as partners in the operation
My Farmer and I working together
this past spring during planting
My husband and I are partners in our farming operation.  We each have our own role and we work together to build our farm.  We talk through marketing decisions together.  We both do our own market research so we can make the best choice for selling our commodities.  We work together in the field.  As harvest approaches, you'll see me driving a tractor and grain cart while you'll see My Farmer driving the combine or semi-truck.  After harvest, it'll be time to be thinking about next year's crop.  We'll talk through our corn and soybean rotations, but My Farmer makes the exact decision on seeds/varieties we will plant.  My Farmer takes care of our pigs at our pig barns on the other side of the section from where we live.  Where along with our son Mr. K, I take care of the goat and pig chores at the home place.  I manage all of our financials for our farm, taking care of bills and deposits, while my husband is the one negotiating rates and rents.  My Farmer does all of the equipment repair, where I'll assist by running to get the parts needed.  We work together.  We are a team.

I am empowered that there are events and programs like FarmHer to confirm with women of all ages that you can be in agriculture.  As a mother of three girls, I never want any of them to think that because they are females they can't be in agriculture.  Maybe Miss A will use her animal handling skills to have her own herd of goats...

What it means to be a FarmHer - starting them young
Miss A has no fear when it comes to
getting dirty and getting the job done
Or Miss L will drive a tractor and raise corn and soybeans...

What it means to be a FarmHer - starting them young
Miss L last fall helping me in the tractor
I can't believe how much she's grown!
And I guess we'll have to wait to see what four month old Miss R will decide, but I want to make sure all of them feel like they can.  There are a lot of occupations that I think have gender biases but I believe the world of agriculture is starting to embrace and recognize women.  For that I am thankful and excited, for me and my girls.

What it means to be a FarmHer - women of all ages in agriculture
My girls and I at the Farm Progress Show
at the end of August
Have you heard of the FarmHer program?  Are you a farmer?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!


  1. I would say you definitely qualify as a farmer! Now I am curious as to the age of the woman who balked at that idea. Maybe it's generational? I hope the weather cooperates during the harvest. Be safe out there!

    1. Surprisingly the woman I'd say was only in her 60s... Sometimes I feel like women are the hardest or most judgmental of others though, so?

      Thanks for the harvest wishes. Hopefully we'll dry-up enough this week to get in the field. We don't need anymore rain!!!

  2. Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this post! It made me chuckle as well as excited about the future of agriculture :)

    1. Thanks Amanda! :) I appreciate your comments. I really enjoy this post too ;) I'm sure you could just picture my grocery store situation happening...

  3. The farmer from whom I get my CSA share is female. My beef is raised primarily by my friend Vicki with occasional help from her husband who works 2 full time jobs and leaves the farming to her. I raise laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys and hogs. While I appreciate all my husbands help with this, I definitely consider myself a small farmer.

  4. Well written, well spoken, and well defended!