For me, one of the most exciting findings of the ERS report is that younger women are entering farming faster than older women are leaving. Women also have a higher land ownership rate than their male counterparts, with 85% of women owning all of the land they farm, compared to 66% of their male counterparts.
But women farmers and ranchers still have a ways to go. More women than men rely on off-farm income, suggesting that farming cannot support them full-time. Only 5% of women-operated farms have sales of $100,000 or more.
Tonight, I will be traveling to LaCrosse, WI to join WomenShare 2013, an event focused on women in the food system. This will be my last official travel as Deputy Secretary of USDA. As I prepare to leave my post as the highest ranking woman at the Department, know that I will continue to work on advancing women’s opportunities in agriculture. One million women is only the beginning.