Characteristics of Women Farm Operators and Their Farms

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Over the past three decades, the number of women-operated farms increased substantially. In 2007, women operated 14 percent of all U.S. farms, up from 5 percent in 1978. Women-operated farms increased in all sales classes, including farms with annual sales of $1 million or more. Most women farmers operated very small farms in 2007; about three-fourths of their farms had sales of less than $10,000. A small share of their farms (5 percent), however, sold $100,000 or more in farm products. About half of women-operated farms specialized in grazing livestock—beef cattle, horses, and sheep or goats. In addition to a principal operator, some farms have secondary
operators. If both principal and secondary operators are counted, the number of women operators in 2007 expands from 306,200 to nearly 1 million.

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