USDA says more women, young farmers on the job

USDA’s newly-released Census of Agriculture shows women and young farmers play important roles on the farm.

Statistician Virginia Harris told USDA’s Agriculture Outlook Forum Thursday they started collecting more information in 2017 about men and women, and their roles on the farm. “Most women are involved in farms with other people. Just 11% of farms with a female producer have just one person involved.”

Harris says female producers account for 36% of farm producers. “Their highest participation in decision making were in the categories of day-to-day decisions, record keeping, and financial management aspects of the farm. Male producers were much more involved than female producers in making decisions about land use and crops.”

And the number of young farmers has grown since 2017 reaching 9 percent. “The number of younger producers increased almost 4% from the previous census cycle and the largest increases are seen in the Midwest and the Great Lakes states.”

Harris says the total number of farmers is shrinking, but not as fast as the number of working farms.  The average age of farmers went up a year to 58.1 years old in 2022.

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