Farming is getting less white and less male, and these photos prove it
Farmers aren’t just old white guys and their frowny wives. That’s the gist of FarmHer, a photography project by Marji Guyler-Alaniz that highlights female farmers of a variety of ages and racial backgrounds:
“Women have always been an important but mostly undocumented aspect of agriculture,” Guyler-Alaniz writes on the FarmHer site. “As a woman who worked in the agriculture field for the past 11 years, I feel our world is long overdue to start bringing images of women in agriculture to the forefront.”
Guyler-Alaniz’s work isn’t just wishful thinking, either. Sure, according to the USDA’s 2007 Census of Agriculture (the latest available), 86 percent of America’s farms have a white guy for their principal operator, and 70 percent of U.S. farm operators are male. But farmers ARE getting more diverse:
One of the most significant changes in the 2007 Census of Agriculture is the increase in female farm operators, both in terms of the absolute number and the percentage of all principal operators. There were 306,209 female principal operators counted in 2007, up from 237,819 in 2002 – an increase of almost 30 percent.
The tide is turning with regard to race as well as gender, says the USDA:
The number of principal operators of all races and ethnic backgrounds has increased 4 percent since 2002, but the growth in the number of non-white operators has outpaced this overall growth.
Awesome, right? Check out the FarmHer site for more of Guyler-Alaniz’s work.