Census finds women are decision-makers on more than half of U.S. farms

Recently released findings from the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture revealed that 36% of American farmers and ranchers are women, and 56% of all U.S. farming operations have at least one female decision-maker.


Credit: flownaksala

The census, which was conducted in early 2018 and focused on production in 2017, found that the number of male producers decreased 1.7%, to 2.17 million, since 2012, while the number of female producers increased nearly 27%, to 1.23 million.

In Virginia, the number of male producers dropped 4.8% to 45,085, and the number of female producers increased 18% to 25,509 over the same period.

“Females have always been involved in farming operations, and now these census findings validate their importance on Virginia farms,” said Whitney Perkins, a commodity specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. She also helps with her family’s beef and hay farm in Louisa County.

Counties with the highest numbers of female producers were Rockingham, 1,215; Augusta, 1,036; Loudoun, 961; Fauquier, 856; and Washington, 772. Counties with the most farms where a woman was the principal producer were Loudoun, 725; Rockingham, 674; Augusta, 648; Fauquier, 615; and Bedford, 487.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that farms with women making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production. Male producers reported higher rates of involvement in land use and crop and livestock decisions, while female producers were most involved in day-to-day business decisions, as well as recordkeeping and financial management.

The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. NASS sends census questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential farm and ranch households.

augusta free press
augusta free press

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


augusta free press
augusta free press news