I just want to say being a farmer's wife, the last thing I grow is my hair and nails. I find that statement a bit rude, since most days I spend the day either working alongside my husband, or out on my own on the farm, either in tractors or working with the livestock. I am one of the spokeswomen that the National Corn and the United Soybean board has selected. And I would disagree with the statement that we are trying to be the face of 'Big Ag'. First off, we don't consider ourselves 'Big Ag', nor do we support the usage of those words. But, some may consider us that because we farm just over 3,000 acres. But, that 3,000 acres also supports four growing families. Second, I would say if anything we are simply trying to put a face on farming in general. Our main purpose is simply to try and reconnect with those consumers who may have never even set foot on a farm. We are telling our own personal stories in hopes of educating consumers on how a farm in this century actually runs. I will agree that this article is well written, and women farmers that are on their own do have to struggle more simply because society has evolved into farming being a "man's" job. But, I will say that most farmers out there that have a wife that helps on the farm, will admit that his wife can put in just as hard of a day's work as himself. Not to mention all of the other unseen things that she may do- preparing meals for her husband and any hired hands or keeping books and records of the operation. I did enjoy this article and I thought the sources were commendable, but I will say that as a family farming operation I would never compare us to Wall Street. Too big to fail? Really? We have worries and scares just like any other business owner. We worry about the weather destroying our crops or the price of cattle on the market being too high for us to afford. I also commend consumers for wanting to learn more about where their food comes from, whether it be the choice of organic or not, regardless- they should be interested. Simply because an educated consumer will be able to make the right choice for themselves and their family. Interesting read. Thank you!
I'd be surprised if they could grow anything besides their hair and nails!
In an otherwise well-written article...Trina Pilonero was "manning" her stall? Really? In an article about women farmers? In 2011? Plenty of nonsexist alternative verbs are available--staffing, operating, running and working, to name four. Also biased: "horrors of the industrial food system."Although the people who bash productive farming are no heroes of mine, this is an interesting, well-researched and well-written article.Commenter d2, buying feed in 50 or 100 pound bags is not buying in bulk. Bulk would be buying by the ton, with no bags.
I would like to answer your question on why are the bags of feed 50lbs or sometimes even more? As an importer and I buyer of food ingredients, it is my job to get to know the farmers of all the products I am purchasing. This involves me taking time to talk with the farmers and see their facilities with my own eyes. If you are asking why the bags need to be so heavy....I am not quite sure you have an actual understanding of how the farming industry operates. Margins are being shredded left and right now a days and farmers and wholesale buyers are losing major ground with their profits. Go speak with the farmers yourselves...or your male farmer counterparts...they will tell you themselves about their struggles and how it always seems people are trying to cut more and more into their profits. To buy in bulk (50 lb bags/ 100 lb bags) as opposed to buying smaller sized bags, would mean that the price would have to rise somewhere....It will be more expensive to bag your animals feed in 10 lb bags than 100 lbers....those are simple facts. Of course there are people who will be willing to pay more for the smaller bags if that is indeed what they need. But, most farmers dont have 2 or 3 goats. They would have hundreds of animals and would need hundreds if not thousands of pounds of feed to accommodate their animals. Now to pay a more premium price for a smaller bag of feed just simply does not make sense! UNLESS you dont have a "real" farm and you are only looking to buy a couple hundred pounds of feed a month, which sounds more like what you are doing. Honestly if you were operating a large farm and needed to feed more animals....you will answer your own question in time....why the bags HAVE to be 50 lbs....Maybe you should also question that can your body physically handle the abuse of a manual labor job? That in fact may answer your questions as well as why this is primarily a male-based industry. Which has NOTHING to do with any Ego's or anything else you try to point the blame towards. I am sorry, but do your homework next time your make an awful reporting job like this....I am tired of the backwards Sexist movement, blaming men for every female struggle in the world. Maybe it begins with....WE ARE NOT EQUAL, and never will be. There are some things men do better than women and vice versa...
Great article, Claire! Enjoyed reading comments from many friends and colleagues. I encourage readers to visit the Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) website, www.wfan.org. We're the only independent non-profit network of women in sustainable agriculture, with a focus on networking, information and leadership development. Women have been the primary drivers behind this movement for decades, and WFAN has been supporting them for 14 years!Leigh AdcockWFAN executive director