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Counting Secondary Operators Triples the Number of Female Operators


Females comprised nearly 14 percent of U.S. principal operators- the individual most responsible for the day-to-day decisions on the farm (or ranch)-in 2012.

Considering additional, secondary operators as well as principal operators, however, gives a more complete picture of the involvement of females in farming.

Including secondary operators more than triples the count of female farmers -from about 288,300 to nearly 970,000-and increases their share of farm operators to almost 31 percent.

Including secondary operators has less of an effect on the number of male farmers, increasing their count by 21 percent, from about 1.8 to 2.2 million.

Female secondary operators tend to be less involved in farming than female primary operators.

About 33 percent of female secondary operators report farming as their major occupation, compared with 43 percent of female primary operators.

Roughly 40 percent of secondary female operators work off-farm at least 200 days per year, slightly higher than the corresponding 35-percent estimate for female principal operators.

This chart updates data from the ERS report Characteristics of Women Farm Operators and Their Farms, released April 2013.

Source: AgriMarketing

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