Women are active advocates for agriculture and successful business owners interested in filling leadership roles, according to a new Farm Bureau survey. A majority of those surveyed, 91 percent, also believe there should be more women in leadership roles in the industry. More than 3,000 women completed the informal survey online, which was conducted to determine the goals and achievements of women in agriculture.
More than a third of American farmers and ranchers today are women, with a growing number becoming powerful advocates for modern agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership program provides women with opportunities for growth and development to sharpen their skills and strengthen their ability to inspire change. “Women play a vital role in modern farming and ranching,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “We hope to use the survey results to drive our program of work and also to give women their voice and help them make even more of an impact in their communities.”
More than 50 percent of women surveyed have started their own business that’s still in operation; 25 percent have not started a business but indicated they would like to do so in the future. Respondents cited prioritizing and finding time to accomplish tasks, acquiring financial support, and marketing plan development as their top business challenges.
Respondents ranked communicating effectively, inspiring and motivating others, and managing conflict among the most important leadership skills for women in agriculture.
Another topline finding of the survey was that 75 percent of respondents are leaders at the local level, 50 percent are leaders at the state level, and 26 percent are leaders at the national level.
All women who are farmers, ranchers, farm/ranch employees, employed in agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education, or supportive of agriculture in other ways were invited to participate in the survey.
Full survey results, including comparisons to the initial “Women in Ag” survey (conducted in 2015), are available on their website.