The Gender Pay Gap Affects Farmers, Too

May 18, 2016 12:00 PM

The Wall Street Journal recently analyzed salary information for 446 major U.S. occupations. Women earned more than their male counterparts in seven of them. Farming was not one of them.

According to the research, female farmers earn on average 65% of what a comparable male farmer earns. Median earnings per year for a male farmer was $41,043 versus $26,594 for a female farmer.

Other notable gender pay gaps in the industry include:

  • ag inpsectors - 91%
  • graders and sorters, ag products - 74%
  • misc. ag workers - 73%
  • ag and food scientists - 89%
  • ag and food science techs - 90%
  • buyers and purchasing agents, farm products - 88%
  • first line supervisors of farming, fishing and forestry workers - 75%

Farm business consultant and author Sarah Beth Aubrey, says for farmers, this gap might be explained to a large degree by circumstantial situations.

“I would suspect that the pay gap could be related to both the fact that when compared to men, women farmers often have other family commitments that may preclude many from farming full time, thus preventing them from earning more,” she says.

Aubrey adds that it would be interesting to break out earnings information for new female farmers.

“Many small and niche farmers are venturing into non-traditional forms of agriculture, and from my experience, this niche farming market includes a lot of women leaving careers elsewhere to begin a life in agriculture,” she says. “As a new or small niche farmer, the income may naturally be lower, at least at first.”

Marji Alaniz, who heads FarmHer, an online community where female farmers can connect with one another, says women in agriculture have to work “harder, faster and smarter” to survive and thrive in the industry. She says she hopes women farmers continue to take pride in all that they do.

“Women in agriculture need to recognize that their work is valuable – and with value comes greater confidence in themselves and in their businesses,” she says. “

To view the interactive Wall Street Journal chart, “What’s Your Pay Gap,” visit

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Spell Check

James Holton
Bushland, TX
5/20/2016 09:43 AM

  Do female farmers weigh their grain on the -35% scale at the coop?


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