Analysis Identifies Commonalities for Female Farmers

Researchers at Penn State University examined data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture to identify aspects of local economic and agricultural ecosystems that are most strongly associated with female-owned farms. The analysis, which was recently published in Food Policy, shows that more female-owned farms are found where average farm size is below 50 acres, where annual farm sales average less than $10,000 per farm, where more farms specialize in grazing sheep or goats, and where agritourism activities are more common. The researchers also found that direct-to-consumer sales are more prevalent in counties with more female-owned farms. In addition, availability of childcare is correlated with the number of female-owned farms in a county. Also, the share of farms with female operators is higher in counties with a greater total number of farms.