Women in Ag: Not Just ‘the Farmer’s Wife’

Posted by Michelle Miller, The Farm Babe on Mar 19, 2021 7:00:00 AM
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Do you ask 'Where's your husband?" to a woman farmer?

 

As an outspoken women in the field of agricultural advocacy and promotion of farming, I get all kinds of reactions and meet all sorts of people. My mission is to inspire others in agriculture to speak up—to realize that it’s cool, achievable, and interesting to talk about the journey behind our food supply, whether that farm is big or small. 

 

Starting up your own farm from nothing is a dream for so many, and here’s my story.

Michelle Miller and friends in the field

Taking the first step

My current situation is “life in transition.” In 2020 I purchased 17 acres (yes, all by myself) near Gainesville, Fla. to start my life over from scratch. Before this, I was on a larger scale commercial farm in Iowa. 

 

That was where I started my “Farm Babe” platform on social media about 6 years ago and it’s now grown into a full-time career with nearly 200,000 followers. I’m a writer, social media influencer, and most notably a public speaker on behalf of the food and farm industry everywhere. 

 

I absolutely love it.

 

So, where’s your husband?

Although I do have a new boyfriend, it has always bothered me when people automatically assume that because you’re a woman in agriculture, you have a husband.

 

Listen up: Marriage doesn’t define you. Although I’ve never been married but dream of it someday, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a non-married person in agriculture. 

 

Some people take longer than others to find “the one.” Some have higher standards, some settle, and some just have bad luck. 

 

Why do so many people automatically assume that women in Ag are “just the farmers wife” who cooks and cleans and raises kids?

 

There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle if you choose it, but it’s 2021: women can be farmers and just as successful as men in agribusiness, if not more so.

NRCS poster from USDA
Statistics don’t lie: according to the USDA, about 1 in 3 people in agriculture are now women. University education departments are seeing more and more women are successfully signing up for Ag careers. Veterinarians? Check. Ruminant nutritionists? Double check. Driving a tractor? Yes, please!

 

So, Hoosier husband?

One time I was speaking at a conference in Indiana and I had six—count ‘em, SIX—people in one night ask me if I was married. What? After person number six I finally responded:

 

“Can I ask you a question? Why is that any of your business?”

 

Startled, the man replied, “Uh, uhhhh sorry I just uhh... you’re just a really cool chick and, uhh I’m surprised you’re not married. Sorry. I am being a jerk I guess. Sorry.”

 

Okay fine, apology accepted. 

 

 

I started wearing a fake ring at conferences so people would leave me alone about it.

How ridiculous is that?

 

 

Can we please have equality now? And don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the extreme “feminist” types, but it’s time to realize that women in ag is a big part of the industry that’s only growing, and relationship status doesn’t define that.

Michelle Miller aka The Farm Babe handles the press

 

More than a statistic

Here I go, a happily-taken yet non-married loud and proud female statistic. Shout outs to all the ladies, married or single, who are amazingly intelligent and hard-working women in Ag.

 

In the words of famed “Sex and the City” columnist Carrie Bradshaw, “Single and fabulous, exclamation point.”

 

About the author

When not tending to her own 17-acre farm, Michelle Miller aka The Farm Babe is a writer, public speaker, and social media influencer on food and modern agriculture. Learn more about her at thefarmbabe.com. 

 

Women farmers actually feed America

 

 

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