HETTINGER, N.D. (KFYR) – Every five years, the USDA conducts a Census of Agriculture.

The most recent census finds that more and more women are working on farms and ranches. According to the census, in 2022, 1.2 million female producers accounted for 36% of all producers. In North Dakota, women make up 30% of the state’s farmers and ranchers.

Calving season is just getting started at JC Farms. These are the first of more than 300 calves that will be born there. For Jacki Christman, it’s the best time of the year.

“It’s a passion. I love it,” said Christman.

This is a life Christman always dreamed of living. She grew up on a cattle ranch in northwest South Dakota, married a farmer and added cattle to his operation near Hettinger.

And when it comes to the cattle, she is in charge. She is one of a growing number of women working full-time on farms and ranches.

The USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture found that in 2022, 30% of producers in North Dakota were women. For Christman, that’s good news, but not that surprising. She believes women have always played active roles on farms and ranches but until now, have stayed behind the scenes.

“I think more and more women are like, ‘This is our livelihood too. Let’s be involved and let’s take credit for it too.’ I’m happy to see there are more women taking an active role in ag,” said Christman.

Christman documents her day-to-day work on her JC Farms Facebook page. She started the page to educate people about the work they do on their farm and ranch. It has since become a page that she hopes might just inspire more women to pursue a career in agriculture.

Some other interesting stats from the Census of Agriculture: 11 percent of producers in the state are 34 years old or younger, but the average age of North Dakota farmers and ranchers is 56.8.

You can see the entire report here.



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