Arkansas Women in Agriculture
Hot Springs Information

2006 Conference

2005 Conference




Facts About Women in Agriculture:
Did you know…..?

The number of women managing farms increased in the
2002 Census of the Agriculture:

•  From 1992 to 1997, the number of women who operate farms increased roughly 165,000 to 209,784.

•  The 2002 Census of Agriculture indicated a 13.4 percent increase in number of farms operated by women since 1997 up to 236,269.

The number of men who operate farms is decreasing:

  • Between the years 1992-1997 the number of men engaged in full-time farm operations dropped over 11 percent from roughly 1 million to 886,000.
  • By 2002 the number of men fell another 11 percent to 791,676.

In 2002 nearly half (47 percent to be exact) of the farmland in Iowa was owned by women:

•  older women who have outlived their husbands and retained ownership of farmland, and

•  women of any age who may no longer live in rural communities but have inherited farmland from parents or grandparents. 

•  women who are changing careers and purchasing smaller farms (typically under 100 acres) to engage in production agriculture that involves local marketing (farmers markets) or alternative products (organics, value added). 

Additionally, more women are becoming visible beyond the farm gate , taking advantage of training in agriculture processing, marketing and retailing and advancement opportunities within the agribusiness sector. This trend is true not just for Iowa , but across the nation. 

    Other Characteristics of Women in Agriculture: 

    PRINCIPAL OPERATORS : 236,269 women were listed as the person responsible for day-to-day operations - a 13 percent increase from 209,784 five years ago. They could be the land owner, renter or business manager.
  • WORKING OFF THE FARM : Of those women managing the farm, more than a third worked a job that took them off the farm for at least 100 days in a year. Slightly over half, though, said farming was their primary occupation.
  • HOW LONG ON THE FARM : 146,112 of the women managing the farm had been on their current farm for at least 10 years. Just 13,082 had spent less than two years on the same farm.
  • AGE GROUPS : Almost a third - 70,000 - of the women farm managers were atleast 65 years old. Just 10,995 were under age 35. Most were ages 45 to 54.

Women in Agriculture Facts from the
2002 Census:




The Top 5 States for Farms Operated by a woman principal operator:

The Top 5 States in acreage operated by women:

The Top 5 States for women as a percent of all principal operators:

1. Texas 27,192

1. Texas 11,178,527

1. New Hampshire 24.9%

2. California 12,615

2. Arizona 5,703,441

2. Maine 21.7%

3. Missouri 10,818

3. Montana 3,804,871

3. Massachusetts 21.5%

4. Tennesse 9,413

4. New Mexico 3,494,882

4. Arizona 20.8%

5. Oklahoma 8,720

5. Wyoming 2,569,140

5. Connecticut 20.7%


The 2002 Census of Agriculture indicated a 13.4 percent increase in the number of farms operated by women since 1997. A total of 237,819 farms were reported as having a woman as the principal operator in 2002. Women operated 59,383,557 acres of land in 2002, an increase of 16.5 percent from 1997. In addition, 84 percent of the women principal operators were full owners of the farms they operated. Nearly all women principal operators, 95.4 percent, own at least part of the land they operated. In 2002, women rented or leased 2,137 fewer farms and 83,910 less acres of land than in 1997.

The 2002 Census provided the first facts on computer and internet use by farmers and ranchers on a county-by-county basis. As a result, the Census revealed that women principal operators were more likely to use computers for business and have Internet access than male principal operators. According to the Census, 40.4 percent (96,025) of women-operated farms used computers for business compared to 38.7 percent of male-operated farms. In addition, 52 percent (123,556) of women-operated farms had Internet access, compared to 49.4 percent of male-operated farms.

Data from the Census also revealed some common characteristics of women principal operators. Most women principal operators had worked at least 10 years or more on their present farm. Of all the women principal operators, 79 percent lived on their farm and 52 percent listed farming as their primary occupation. The 2002 Census also indicated that women operators are slightly older than principal operators in general. The average age of a woman principal operator is 56.7 years, compared to 55.3 years for all principal operators.


Looking at market value of agricultural products sold by women-operated farms, women produced $4.5 billion in livestock, poultry and their products, and an additional $3 billion in crops. Of the 237,819 farms operated by women, 25 percent received government payments, totaling $323 million.


For more census information, visit NASS online at and click on "Census of Agriculture" for aggregate facts and figures