By Shala Watson

Agriculture is full of stereotypes. Boots and overalls. The hayseed plowboy. And all men.

But it’s changing. The demographics are shifting. There’s a place for women in agriculture, too.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service shows the number of men operating farms is decreasing, while the number of women doing so is on the rise.

They’re starting or taking over farms—urban and rural, large and small. Women are bringing renewed strength and vitality, increasing their roles and responsibilities.

It’s a job they take seriously, and a passion they nurture.

In the U.S., one million women are involved in daily farm and ranch decisions. And there are more than 38,000 women operating farms in the Lone Star State.

They make up 30 percent of all U.S. farmers, according to USDA data. That number has nearly tripled over the past three decades from 121,600 to 306,200.

There are also women who aren’t the primary farm or ranch operators, but they still play an active role. They’re the backbone behind many farms and ranches, keeping them running like a well-oiled machine.

But their contributions go beyond the field and keeping the books.

More women are bringing their skills to classrooms, businesses, communities and other areas within agriculture. They’re pursuing agricultural-related degrees in college, advocating for agriculture and taking a leading role in many agricultural organizations.

So when you think of a farmer, also think of a woman with leadership skills, knowledge and experience. Because she’s also growing our food and fiber. And our families.

Shala Watson is an Agricultural Communications major at Tarleton State University and the Texas Farm Bureau Public Relations intern.