Does The Title Matter?
Women in Ag Unite
There is some debate in the online communities about what is the appropriate title for a woman in agriculture. Is she a farmer, a rancher, a farmer's wife or a rancher’s wife? There are many different circumstances and emotions that can determine which identity or title may best describe a female in the Ag industry. Regardless of our chosen title, we need to support each other in our goals and put our competitive nature about who works harder aside! We must join forces with all women involved in agriculture to share the truth about what we do and the safety and nutrition of the food we raise!
I was born to full-time owners and operators of a cattle ranch, which identifies me as a daughter of farmers and ranchers. Some people who identify as a farmer's child have parents or grandparents who farm or ranch full time, part time, or as a hobby. Some of these children are given great responsibility and chores to do outside or inside the home. Some play sports and participate in extra curricular activities, and some can't because of their schedules or simply the distance to these events. I would venture to say that most children, raised having any involvement in agriculture grow into well rounded, hard working, and family oriented adults.
A proud woman in Ag, can be a FarmHer, RanchHer or happily be a farmer's or rancher’s wife. But the distinction between these titles can be quite a blurry line because, unfortunately, many farms can't support a family strictly from the sale of commodities raised. So most farm couples require one or both of them to work off of the farm either part or full time. These couples often return to the farm to use every spare second to do chores, scout crops and repair machinery, in addition to the obvious tasks of seeding, calving, and harvest.
Having an off the farm job doesn't make a person any less of a farmer, or any more stressed. Full time farmers have their own set of challenges, often running bigger operations and often on a tighter budget since 100% of their income is made from the sale of their product for food, fuel or fiber. With high cost of inputs and no real guarantee what the markets and weather will be during that growing season, many times, those margins are paper thin.
Importance of Women
Whether she operates a tractor, tags calves, milks cows --or not, she's had a very important hand in supporting her husband, children and the Ag operation. She may be in charge of making the home, keeping a happy, peaceful place for her farmer to come home to, cooking warm meals and raising the littles, which is the most important commodity there is, in my opinion. She may do the books and give rides to help move machinery. She may run for parts and vet supplies or earn an off the farm income and insurance coverage for her family. Sometimes these roles are swapped and her male counterpart brings home off-the-farm funds, and she stays home to care for the livestock and crops. Either way, everyone involved in the opporation is doing it because they're passionate about the farm way of life and are prepared to help supply food for the growing population.
This leads me to one of the most important jobs. We, as women in agriculture, whether we are a FarmHer, farmer's wife, farmer's daughter or first generation farmer, need to promote what we do and educate those who are removed from the glorious farm way of life. We need to show them how passionate we are about what we do and that we are doing everything we can to supply the world population with food that is safe and nutritious.
Here are some suggestions! Some of the ways we can promote agriculture is by committing to the following:
Passionately believe agriculture is a modern, dynamic industry with value that needs to be better understood, recognized and advanced among industry stakeholders and the general public.
Look for opportunities to share about the optimism and importance, and celebrate opportunities the industry has to offer.
Promote ag in a credible and meaningful way, to dispel myths and tell your story – today and in the future.
What title fits your role best? Is the use of your chosen title important to you? Feel free to comment below! We'd love to hear your take on the subject!
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This post was written by Emily Zarak! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us Emily! ?
Emily is a life-long, fourth generation farmer and rancher, growing up on a beef cow/calf pair, back grounding and small grains operation. She works with her parents, raising commercial Hereford and Angus cross cattle. She has a degree in agriculture and she met and married her farmer husband soon after college. They have three children and farm and ranch together, primarily feed lot calves, durum, canola, Spring wheat and cow/calf pairs. She is passionate to continue to care for the land and livestock, so that her own children will have something as important to care for, and the faith to continue the tradition.