Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Miss Dairy Farmer, 2008?

This AP article is a little depressing.

Apparently, the number of women farmers in Wisconsin is growing.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service's most recent agricultural census, done in 2002, showed women were the principal operators of 7,353 Wisconsin farms, up about 27 percent from 1997. There was about a 13 percent increase nationally during the same period.

The percentage of Wisconsin's female principal farm operators increased from 6.7 percent in 1997 to 9.5 percent in 2002.
And the trend seems to be continuing:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences said there were 1,311 women enrolled last fall and 1,005 men, compared with 796 men and only 353 women during the 1977-1978 school year.
The article mentions the increase of mechanization, the choice to raise smaller animals and produce dairy, and...here's the depressing part...
somebody has to work elsewhere to get health insurance, and often it is the man because they usually can find better paying jobs
The quote is from a dairy farmer in Wisconsin named Diane Grezenski. So women are turning to work that will help their families survive. Nothing new there. Is this just a replay of the past? Women do the jobs men don't want to do/ can't afford to do/ are too busy to do? Is farming becoming "women's work"?

Or is this a necessity of life in Wisconsin? I wouldn't know.

While it's possible this farming trend is a good thing, there's a definite danger that this is just a shift in ideology. Nursing became women's work, teaching did as well. Hell, even farming was during World War 2.

Seriously, what was Rosie the Riveter all about? Get women to work at industrial/agricultural jobs while their men were off fighting in the war. When they come back, go back into your little house hole and be happy. If men get laid off from these elusive jobs with health care, where will they go? Back to farming. And the women will go back to their "happy," sheltered lives. I'm not saying it's the reality, just that it's a possibility.

1 comment:

Andy Swan said...

Having grown up in a family of farmers, I can tell you that the "mechanization" comment is nonsense. It's just allowing fewer people to farm more land at higher yields....it is NOT reducing the stress, intelligence or endurance required for the job.

It is a noble profession, and women getting involved is a positive for both farming and women.