OWENSBORO, Ky. — With more than half of all farming operations in the United States listing women as a principal operator or a decision-maker, it’s important to recognize women as an essential part of today’s farming sector. Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles took that recognition a step further when he signed a proclamation naming Oct. 11 as “Kentucky Women in Agriculture Day.”
“The number of women farmers in Kentucky and across the globe keeps growing,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Their influence, knowledge, and strong leadership skills are a genuine bonus for agriculture and its future. Acknowledging that is the purest form of gratitude we can show those who give of themselves on our farms, for their families and for our own.”
Recognizing the importance of women in Kentucky’s farming sector, Commissioner Quarles presented the proclamation at the Kentucky Women in Agriculture (KWIA) annual conference in Owensboro.
“Each year, the Kentucky Women in Agriculture organization brings together a community of like-minded female leaders in and around farming industries to learn from, collaborate with, and to promote one another,” said Babette Overman, President of KWIA. “We are so appreciative of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s support of our conference and our young women’s scholarships. We are thrilled to join KDA and Commissioner Quarles in proclaiming Oct. 11, 2022, ‘Kentucky Women in Agriculture Day.’”
KWIA’s membership is comprised of women who own and operate farms and agribusinesses, as well as agriculture entrepreneurs, state and federal personnel, ag educators and students, and consumers. The annual conference provides attendees with the opportunity to network and nurture a recognized agriculture and agribusiness community. This year’s theme was “Rooted in Community.” By empowering women through education, involvement, and action, KWIA has a positive influence on Kentucky agriculture.
That influence is important, as the number of female farmers in Kentucky keeps growing. In 2017, 42,946 women farmed in Kentucky, up 36.7 percent from the number identified in the previous 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) census. Of those, 33,550 were involved in making day-to-day decisions on the farm, 26,215 were the principal producers on their farms, and 12,648 listed farming as their primary occupation, the census found.
The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land – whether rural or urban – growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals. The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures. USDA will start collecting information for the next census in November.
— Kentucky Department of Agriculture