Women have been a vital part of farming from the early days of agriculture. Tough, hardworking, caring and smart, female farmers make up 36 percent of American farmers and ranchers, and the numbers are growing. Fifty-six percent of all farms have at least one female decision-maker, and from 2012 to 2017, the number of female producers increased 27 percent.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re highlighting female peanut growers who do the essential jobs of running family-owned operations, spending long hours on tractors in the field, keeping the farms’ finances in order, getting family fed and everything in between, all while developing as leaders in the industry.
Jan Jones from Climax, Georgia is a fifth generation farmer who graduated from Mercer University and became a teacher, but decided to follow her heart and help run the family farm with her dad. In 2015, she acquired her own 150 acres and began planting peanuts.
Lexi Floyd from Brownfield, Texas began farming peanuts, cotton, wheat and cattle with her husband, Jared, in 2013 after a stint teaching Ag in the Classroom in Chicago. Not only is she a member of the Peanut Leadership Academy, she also serves on several agricultural boards, including the Terry County Farm Bureau, the West Texas Young Farmers Association, and is involved with the Western Peanut Growers Board. She also performs bookkeeping for several farms in her area.
Blaire Colvin’s farm is in Marion County, Florida where she grows peanuts, carrots, snap beans, sweet corn and small grains with her father. She recently graduated with a Doctorate in Plant Medicine from the University of Florida. She is also a certified crop advisor and agronomist, and an equal partner in the farm business with her dad.
Sustainable at Heart: Q&A with Peanut Farmer Casey Cox
Casey Cox doesn’t just think of sustainability when it’s convenient; she’s made conservation her personal and professional passion. At 28, she is the sixth generation of her family to farm along the Flint River. Casey utilized her degree in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of Florida as a foundation to lead her back to southwest Georgia – with a renewed passion and purpose to be involved in agriculture and conservation. As a millennial farmer – with an interest and training in sustainability – we asked her about her family, her passion for sustainability and what it’s like to be a millennial farmer.
The path to life as a farmer is unique for former National Peanut Board At-large member Eileen Jordan of Rayville, Louisiana. She began both her career as a dental hygienist and her marriage to former NPB Chairman Vic Jordan in 1980 and transitioned into a full-time life as a farmer in 2014.
Meet Amanda Baxley, mother of three girls and wife of Neal Baxley, a seventh-generation farmer in Marion County, S. C., about an hour from the Atlantic Ocean. Amanda is glad she can experience living on a farm and raising her children on a farm. “I want them to appreciate the good things we have right in front of us; such as the land and the chance we have to work the soil and watch crops grow season after season. I want them to appreciate how much time and effort it takes and get involved in what their father and I do every day.”