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USDA: Nearly a Quarter of NM Farmers Women

December 16, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - U.S. Department of Agriculture numbers show more New Mexico women are in the driver's seat...of a tractor. Farms owned and operated by women are up in the past few years, including nearly a quarter of the farms in the Land of Enchantment.

Lisa Kivirist, director of the Rural Women's Project for MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service), says one reason might be that women are championing locally grown food and specialty foods, which tap into market trends.

"We see this movement of wanting to reconnect with the way things used to be, when you could buy your eggs from your neighbor down the road. How we rekindle that in today's world is the challenge ahead of us."

Kivirist predicts that the number of farm businesses and other agricultural ventures owned by women will continue to grow and play a role in the future of the food system.

"You're going to see more women intentionally starting these types of businesses that really have the potential to transform how we eat and what food we'll end up with - in anything from our kids' cafeteria trays to our home dinner plates."

Women are the principal operators of about 4,600 farms in New Mexico. The Albuquerque-based nonprofit, Holistic Management, is considered a national leader in training female first-time farmers.

Agricultural statistics are available at www.agcensus.usda.gov.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM