“When I attend conferences and meetings around the country I see more women in attendance and, more importantly, I ‘hear’ women’s voices much more often than I did even 20 years ago.” – Mary Peabody, Women’s Agricultural Network

And it continues to grow.

Women are the fastest growing demographic in agriculture. There are more than 1 million female farmers, plus women make up more than 30 percent of all farmers in Northeastern United States – many more in New York, Pennsylvania and most of the New England region, for example.

“Women have also been really good at developing networks of women farmers to share information. Learning how to farm and create business models can be overwhelming for new farmers,” said Rachel Terman, co-author of “The Rise of Women Farmers and Sustainable Agriculture,” in an interview. “In other scenarios, farmers may be reticent to share information about their businesses, but we found that women who were successful farmers were willing to open up about what worked and didn’t. This kind of peer-to-peer networking has been an important innovation for women farmers.”

In our cover story by Tamara Scully, that networking aspect is highlighted as we celebrate the contribution of the women who take part in this industry. There are many stories of more to be told that could overflow the pages of this magazine. Shining a light on these featured ladies provides a glimpse of the influence they possess in their field and culture.

That encouragement has helped young women achieve their objectives and has added to the ranks of ag workforce. As the whole industry evolves, the stewards of it do as well. Planting the seed in the next generation is vital, and bringing in other perspectives will only help agriculture thrive in a 21st century world that’s rapidly changing.

Speaking of planting seeds, we also want to tell you about our seed preview later this year. It’s never too late to think about the next season. Stay tuned and cheers!