On farms and ranches across the United States, more and more often, it’s women who are leading the way. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture 2012 census statistics, there were 969,672 female principal farm operators—that’s 30 percent of all farm operators in the United States. These women worked more than 62.6 million acres and produced $12.9 billion worth of agricultural goods.
Beyond those owning and managing their own farms, women are integrally involved in thousands of family farms, often as chief financial officer and contribute to daily operating and planning decisions. Some women work off the farm to help support it. Women continue to be a critical component to the success of U.S. farms and ranches.
But women are often unseen in the agriculture industry. Marji Guyler-Alaniz was watching the Ravens defeat the 49ers in the 2013 Super Bowl when she saw the Ram truck commercial that used Paul Harvey’s speech to the 1978 National FFA Convention, “So God Made A Farmer.” She noticed that in the two-minute long commercial with dozens of images of farmers, less than a handful of women were shown. And the seed was planted.
“I started FarmHer to update the image of agriculture,” says Guyler-Alaniz, a professional photographer, writer and designer. “I wanted to include the women who have always worked the land and raised animals and to document the women who are rising to the forefront of the field.”
She started with a website, blog and social media showcasing photos she took of women working on their farms. As her FarmHer community grew, people started to notice, including RFD-TV which expressed an interest in developing a program about Guyler-Alaniz and FarmHer. A television series that documents her efforts to photograph women in agriculture began on RFD-TV on Sept. 9. The first season will run through August 2017.
FarmHer’s new show airs weekly on RFD-TV Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; then is rebroadcast Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 9:30 p.m.
One way Nationwide is showing its support for women in agriculture is by sponsoring the FarmHer television program series on RFD-TV. Nationwide is also a national partner of Guyler-Alaniz’s GROW by FarmHer events, day-long programs planned at land-grant universities in different cities to connect high school and college-aged women who are passionate about agriculture with possibilities and opportunities.
To learn more about Nationwide’s farm insurance and other initiatives in support of American agriculture, visit Nationwide Agribusiness’ website.