Sunday, January 16, 2011

Women farmers on NPR

NPR's Liane Hansen interviewed two women in agriculture this morning. One was Barbara Amstrong, who runs a Beefalo farm in El Paso, Arkansas, which is not even a Census Designated Place. She sells a lot of her product at farmers' markets in central Arkansas. The other seemed rather less rural--at least at first blush--in part because she is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Carol Keiser-Long runs C-Bar Cattle Company, which has a presence in a three-state area including Kansas and Nebraska. Keiser-Long grew up with farming, and she's involved in intensive production agriculture, in contrast to Ms. Armstrong, who might be considered a boutique farmer/producer.

Women are the largest minority group among farmers, and they are also the fastest growing group, with more than 300,000 in the U.S. Many are particpating in a class action discrimination suit pending against the USDA, which is expected to settle soon.

This NPR story is a fascinating feature, but feminists be warned: the story features a heavy dose of both gender essentialism and biological determinism.

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