Women play a big part in advancing American agriculture

The role of women in agriculture, whether in the current generation or future generations, hasn't changed much as they serve in just as vital a capacity as their male counterparts.

Character content, not labels, makes agriculture great

This is one of those ideas I’ve pondered for some time but decided not to venture into in this space because I personally saw it as a non-issue.

I still do for the most part, but a recent article and its false premise and downright inaccuracies is too ripe not to address the topic.

To my friends in academia I mean no personal disrespect, but what is it about some of your peers and their far-out ideas and opinions that make them invent titles that defy logic?

Apparently a professor of politics from Ithaca College in upstate New York was invited to speak at an event where she railed on the “hetero-racist misogyny in agriculture.”

What?

According to the article, the professor has authored a dozen books and yet has “never worked in or studied agriculture.” Quick: put her on the board of one of those activist groups with the backing of Congress that seek to dictate how farmers farm. She’ll fit right in.

In the article the professor was said to ponder her discussion on agriculture “by first asking what is intellectually and politically ‘invisible’ in agriculture, and then positing the question of what happens to the ‘notion of gender’ in different agricultural sectors.”

Maybe the “notion of gender” in agriculture is invisible because there’s a job to do and capable human beings have no time for silly questions.

Apparently the professor believes that the alleged male-dominated nature of agriculture wrongly blinds people to race and gender, as if somehow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s colorblind dream is abhorrent.

Moreover, she apparently doesn’t like how agriculture makes people of color, particularly women, invisible. Again, Dr. King must be turning in his grave at our incessant focus on everything but the content of one’s character.

Apparently her patronizing view of agriculture is the old white guy in overalls, sitting in his chair barking orders at the “little woman” to make him a sandwich and bring him a beverage. Come on, professor: join the rest of us in the 21st Century.

In the agriculture I see every day there are plenty of men who farm and a good number who run organizations that support agriculture. In this same realm I also see a tremendous number of women running organizations and doing a host of important jobs. This includes everything from working on the farm to running agricultural organizations with seven-figure budgets and beyond.

In California’s local government structure there are about a dozen women who serve as county agricultural commissioner, a regulatory position appointed by the elected board of supervisors to oversee and manage a host of vital functions at the local level. California’s agricultural secretary (a gubernatorial appointment) is a woman – not the first in the history of the state, mind you.

From my venue I see women who lead commodity groups, are the chief executive and president of influential organizations, manage farm businesses, work as farm advisors, drive bank-out wagons and combines, doctor livestock, serve on various boards of directors and even (heaven forbid!) help raise families.

The point is this: agriculture is not the patriarchy that the professor suggests, not by a long shot. Even if they’re not atop a corporate flow-chart, women are keenly involved in all facets of agriculture in the United States.

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