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Female Farmers: From Harvest to Halls of Power

NextTribe female farmers

It’s really the oldest profession in the world—farming—and women have been doing it forever. Now, female farmers are taking their know-how and compassion to rural campaign trails. These women simultaneously shoulder the responsibility of feeding the nation and making it all work on super-slim margins. Who better to tackle thorny policies and serve as champions for small towns, the conservation of natural resources and rural success?

So far, we’ve learned about farming women running for office in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Sylvia Hammond is running for state representative in Washington, where she runs a farm with her husband in the Columbia Basin. This 60-something grandmother of six is entering politics for the first time. In Wisconsin, Kathleen Vinehout, a 59-year-old dairy farmer (above), is in the gubernatorial race while serving her third term as a state senator.

It’s no surprise that these women are focusing their campaigns on public schools, health care, living wages and a number of community-first initiatives. With recent exposure given to the tragedies in farming communities— the suicide epidemic among farmers is greater than that among veterans—perhaps these women possess exactly the strength, understanding and caring that are needed in our rural communities.

 – Christine Grillo


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