People have different visions of what farmers are. Some still think farmers look like Grandpa Joe with bib overalls tending to his chickens and pigs. Rid that vision because farmers are different today. The real truth? There is no “typical” farmer stereotype. In fact, other farm bloggers have also talked about it. Yes, farmers are as different as songs on the radio. My friend Sara blogged about women farmers and how they do wear makeup. Her inspiration came from a recent plane trip she took where she was told by a young boy that she did not look like a farmer because she wore makeup and he argued that “farmers do not wear makeup!” It’s a great read!
And just like her, I do not fit the “farmer stereotype” either:
1. I am a female.
Yes, not all farmers are men. Women can be farmers. Women bring a whole different dimension to farming and I truly believe agriculture is better for it. It’s fun for me to see young women, such as a Farmer’s Daughter and these four daughters from Oregon farms, coming back to the farm as equal farming partners with their farm families. “I am Woman, Hear me roar . . .” Okay, okay, I won’t break out in song.
2. I am a grandma.
Yes, you heard me. A G-R-A-N-D-M-A. You know, cookie baking, kiss the grandkid’s booboos, game playing, huggy kind of grandma. I have six grandchildren and I love them all and promise they will ALL know where their food comes from. Food that comes from all sorts of farms and does not magically appear in grocery stores.
3. I was not raised on a farm.
Absolutely NO farming background. Yes, I was born and lived in a farming community but that doesn’t automatically qualifiy you as having a farming background. When I met my husband to be, I didn’t even know what a plow was and what it was used for. I can honestly say when I was young I had no desire to live on a farm, let alone be a farmer.
4. I did not always want to be a farmer.
As I was growing up, I stayed pretty persistent with #3. I did not want to live on a farm. I told my best friend in high school I would never marry a hog farmer. I mean, face it, pigs have a smell – farms have a smell. Why, oh why, would I ever want to live on a farm? But you know the old adage, “never say never“. All I can say is love is blind and I ended up marrying a pig farmer!
What was I thinking? I am a city girl, not a farm girl. Doesn’t GOD have the greatest sense of humor? But as you probably guessed, I started my transformation from city girl to farmer. Yes, I normally don’t refer to myself as a farm wife – I am an equal on our farm – a farmer. And I am proud of it!
5. I don’t wear the right attire.
When I am working on the farm, it is usually “tennies”, a t-shirt or sweatshirt and depending on the weather, I either wear shorts or jeans. No cowboy boots, no belt buckles and yes, like my friend Sara, I do wear makeup.
6. I am not a country music fan.
I make no apologies – it’s just the way it is. I do love and appreciate all types of music and I will listen to some country music. I just don’t love it! Take me to a Styx conert any day!
Farmer stereotypes need to be broken. I love that agriculture has room for all types of farmers! And I especially love that we have women in agriculture. Even though I never thought I would be a farmer growing up, God had a different plan for me.
And I am so grateful and glad he is more insightful and smarter than me.
And with that, let’s just celebrate all types of farmers . . . women included.
Katie Pinke (@katpinke) says
Wanda, it truly takes all kinds of kinds! No belt buckle or boots. Or country music. I love that you know who are and who aren’t and that you are proud to share it! Keep working to break stereotypes. I love all that you share! Thank you for highlighting the Women in Ag series!
Thanks Katie! Love your blog and your Facebook posts! Thank you for everything you do for ag!
Me and 3 other women farmers who have chosen to come back to farm with their dads. Might be of interest. http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131024/ARTICLE/131029935
Thanks for pointing out these other posts!
Thanks for pointing this out Marie! I have the link posted! Keep on farming!
Rachel G says
I laughed when you said you wouldn’t ever marry a pig farmer and then you did!! God does have a bit of a sense of humor…or else we’re just not the best at planning our own futures! :)
What a wonderful post! I love that you know who and what you are.
Charlene@A Pinch of Joy says
Just found your link to Throwback Thursday and I am so glad! I’m not a farmer, nor have I ever lived on a farm but I grew up in a rural community and married a farm boy — who now owns the family farm with his three sisters. Women make up the majority of farmers/farm owners/farm managers today, they are proud to say! I’ve heard every stereotypical farmer comment you can imagine when people hear we own farmland, including some that really astonished me. I don’t know of anyone who fits the “farmer stereotype” and so glad that you (and others) are working to change that image from a first hand perspective! Off to visit the links you provided. . . .
How funny. I think I fit more farmer stereotypes than you, and I haven’t lived on a farm since I moved out of my parent’s house 18 years ago :)
Ha! The farm definitely stays with a person! Have a great new year!
Rachel Cotterill says
It’s funny the kind of assumptions people can make. I’m a computer scientist so I also don’t look like the “typical” person (i.e. man…) in my field! It can be quite funny sometimes. Nice to meet you via SITS.
I hear what you are saying. A number of years ago I worked in IT at a manufacturing company performing tasks like hardware and software support. Putting in hard drives, motherboards, memory, etc. Not a job you think of women doing. But so glad I did!
I was laughing when you said you wouldn’t ever marry a pig farmer, but you did anyway! :) I love our local farms! I prefer to buy from them…we belong to a CSA and go to pick every week late spring through most of the fall. I wish it could be year round! Here’s to women farmers!! Visiting from SITS Sharefest!
I think of that story often. It’s amazing how things change in your life – doing things you thought you would never do.
Savvy Working Gal says
I love this post. I grew up on a farm and “You don’t look like a farmer” used to be a common response when I told someone about my upbringing. I know three women who are farmers. One looks like she works in NYC.
It’s important that women are very important in agriculture. Farmers really are varied!