Women in Agriculture take spotlight
According to the USDA’s most recent census report, the number of women-led farms has tripled over the past four decades and remains one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States.
Today females make up 32% of the farming workforce and are almost one million women strong. Despite these powerful statistics, female farmers have often gone unnoticed in farm imagery…until now. RFD-TV’s new series, “FarmHer” focuses its camera lens on women in agriculture through the eyes of photographer and TV host Marji Guyler-Alaniz.
The television series takes viewers on a journey through a day in the life of many diverse women, telling their story and aiming to create a dialogue that highlights the importance women play in agriculture.
Where are the women?
FarmHer was founded by Marji in 2013 just after the “God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl Ram commercial aired. A few days after the commercial captivated America, she read an article discussing how it was a beautiful representation of America, but where were the women? She struggled with this fact and decided she wanted to utilize her passion for photography to begin changing the image of agriculture to include woman and sharing their stories.
The FarmHer concept started as an online community and photo project and has now grown into a new prime time television show that premiered Sept. 9 on RFD-TV.
“I spent my career working in agriculture and never thought about how women were (or rather, weren’t) portrayed,” said Marji. “I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that instead of being frustrated, I had the ability to start changing the perception with my camera and show the world that women farm too.”
This original series is produced by RFD-TV in partnership with FarmHer and presented by Syngenta U.S. and Mahindra. Each episode of “FarmHer” follows a different female farmer and explores what life on the farm looks like for women in agriculture. From an urban goat dairy farm in Tampa to an alpaca ranch in Colorado, “FarmHer” takes you inside the nitty-gritty lives of female farmers.
The next level
“The thing that excites me the most about expanding “FarmHer” is that together with RFD-TV we can take the image of these women – images that really represent and stand for millions of women all over the world – to the next level,” said Marji. “By incorporating video, we can really show these women at work and shine a much bigger light on who they are, what they do, and the beauty that each of them brings to agriculture. I hope by sharing these with a larger audience that we can inspire women, both within and outside agriculture, to go after their dreams, do what they want and find a way to succeed.”
Raquel Gottsch, executive producer of FarmHer TV says there is something to be learned from every woman in the FarmHer series.
"You do not need to live or work in agriculture to enjoy the show, “said Gottsch. “There are life lessons, stories of heartache and triumph, and moments of humor that will resonate with anyone watching. It is our goal of the series to not only update the image of agriculture to include women, but to also show the beauty of rural America in an effort to reconnect city with country, the lifelong mission of RFD-TV.
"Every woman that we have visited has truly inspired me and taught me something new about agriculture that I did not know before. Women are amazing communicators and have a way of sharing their love for the land, care for the community and desire to feed the people,” Gottsch added.
FarmHer Shayla McCullers, from Frostproof, FL commented that “women involved in agriculture have so much respect from [people] on the outside because we are the salt of the earth. Women are the strong backbone of America.”
“FarmHer” airs Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. and repeats at 10 a.m. Saturdays, 8:30 p.m. Sundays and 7 a.m. Wednesdays through the fall season.