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SF Blog: Honoring Four (Female) Farmers

The concept of my Mid-February story was finding female farmers that would open up about their triumphs and trials, but I was unsure of what kind of women I’d be interviewing. 

When I originally pitched this story and got approved to move forward with the video series and TV show segment, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. I wanted to find four farmers from four different states that were actually making the management decisions on their large-scale operations. I wanted row-crop farmers and at least one rancher. Since female primary operators are so rare, I was surprised at how many I found once I did some digging!

I’m a firm believer that every farmer – and every person, for that matter – has a story to tell, but these four women blew me away. Their passion, their vast knowledge, and their love of the land made writing the story and putting together the TV segment and video series with producer David Ekstrom incredibly rewarding. 

Regardless of gender, these women are out on their farms doing everything a male farmer does and even going far above and beyond in leadership and volunteer opportunities. We can’t overlook our strong, female farmers, which I hope “I Am a (Woman) Farmer” proves. 

I’m so proud to share their stories, but I’m even more humbled to have met these four farmers at all:

SF (female) Farmer: April Hemmes

“Being a woman farmer, what I find is that when I explain things to people, they get it,” says Hemmes. 

SF (female) Farmer: Paula Karlock

“I guess one of the misconceptions would be when someone would come out to visit the farm and say, ‘You can drive that big machine?’ Well, yes,” says Karlock.

SF (female) Farmer: Debbie Lyons-Blythe

“I don’t think honestly that me being a woman makes any difference to farming and ranching,” says Lyons-Blythe.

SF (female) Farmer: Cameo Van Horn

“I maybe look at farming a little differently as either a mom or a female just for the safety aspect of it,” says Van Horn. “If I can do it a safer way and it’s still profitable, then I’ll do it that way.”

If you’re a female farmer, or you know of one who’s a big-time operator like these women, I want to hear your story.

Contact me at anna.m.mcconnell@meredith.com.

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