EDITORIAL: AARP: The Rise of Women Farmers
According to the most recent Department of Agriculture data, there are more than 306,000 farms run primarily by women in 2007, representing about 14 percent out of the 3.3 million American farms. That’s up from 237,819 or 11 percent in 2002, and a big increase from the 1980s when about five percent of U.S. farms were operated by women.
Fourth generation family farmer Robin Dunn runs her family farm, Dunn’s Landing almost single handedly. The farm originally belonged to her great grandparents which they homesteaded. She bought it from her father in 1993, and today grows soybeans, corn, sorghum and hay, and maintains a small herd of Black Angus cattle and eight horses which she uses to for wagon and stage coach rides.
Dunn has branched out from her farming business, using her century-old dairy barn to host 25 to 30 weddings and other events a year. She also attracts tourists for farm tours and carriage rides, and holds sessions with school children to teach them about faming.
Traditionally farming has been a very male dominated profession, with women often playing a signifigant, but largely supporting role. Women farmers such as Robin Dunn are working to change that, while keeping a piece of their heritage alive.