Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

November 2004


Published in Cornhusker Economics, 11/17/2004. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Although farm numbers continue to decline, women in agriculture are increasing their responsibility in decision making and management on the farm. According to the 2002 U.S. Agricultural Census the number of farms in Nebraska was 49,355, down 10 percent from 1997. However, the number of female principle operators in Nebraska was up from 2,948 in 1997 to 3,005 in 2002 according to the census. T his is a small increase compared to the 13 percent jump of women operating farms in the nation (209,784 in 1997 to 237,819 in 2002). Of those principal female operators in Nebraska, 1,568 have farming as their primary occupation and 949 work more than 200 days off the farm, compared to 883 in 1997. Of the women who are principal operators, 2,067 have been on the present farm for 10 years or more. The average age of the women principal operators is 59.7 which is 5.8 years older than the average age of all Nebraska farmers. As women’s involvement in agriculture continues and more women become principal operators, their need for education and networking is more important than ever. The University of Nebraska’s conference “Women in Agriculture: Today’s Critical Difference” provides farm/ranch business management information for women in agriculture to persevere in this challenging industry.