Confession: I didn’t know that being a woman rancher was a unique thing. I think I am so full of female empowerment and “I am woman, hear me roar” attitude that I assumed a female rancher is totally common. I was partially correct.
The truth is, while being a woman rancher is unique, there are many women doing big things in this field. I spoke with one of them, Brandi Buzzard Frobose, and was so impressed by her, I had to share her story.
The History of Being a Woman Rancher
First off, there have been women in ranching and farming since the beginning of time. However, they are just now starting to be recognized as leaders in the industry. About time I say!
The truth is women all over the world are involved in every aspect of agriculture. In the US, 30% of farmers are women. And the UN found the majority of women who have jobs in the least developed countries work within the agriculture field.
But, as you can imagine, it is not easy to be a woman rancher or farmer.
The obstacles they face are ones women in other industries have to deal with, too, such as equal treatment among peers and access to financing and education. But, female farmers are also saddled with a lack of access to land, agricultural training and markets to sell their goods.
Like women everywhere, they often find themselves at a disadvantage before they ever plant their first seed. However, also like women everywhere, they don’t give up.
Meet Brandi Buzzard Frobose
Brandi Buzzard Frobose grew up on a hobby farm. She rode horses, participated in 4-H activities and spent as much time as she could outside on the land. It was a natural fit for her to continue those activities as a profession.
Today, Brandi and her husband, who grew up on a row-crop farm, raise seed stock cattle. This means their herd is not raised for food, but for breeding. They are literally helping to raise the next generation of cattle! According to Brandi, “It is a lifestyle. It is hard work, but I choose the hard work. You cannot put a price on this life.”
Brandi is driven each day by her love for the land, as well as a firm commitment to preserving the environment and relying on science. She is concerned about climate change and the effect humans are having on the earth. She believes the work she does, and how she does it, will help protect and preserve our planet for generations to come.
In addition to her full-time ranching work, Brandi is a mom to a 4-year-old and all that entails! She is also the Director of Communications for Red Angus Association of America, helping to tell the story of farmers as only a woman rancher can. There is a long tradition of women in ranching and farming and Brandi is helping to further those efforts.
What is life like for women in ranching and farming?
They are making more day-to-day decisions on the farm and are far more vocal about how their farms are being run than in the past. These women are wearing a lot of different hats.
They may be the primary operator of the farm or ranch as well as a wife, mother, salesperson and pseudo veterinarian. They also may have a full-time job off the farm to provide a steady stream of income and health insurance. Yet, they often don’t get the respect or financial resources male farmers receive.
Female farmers have kept family farms together for generations, but Brandi agrees the agriculture industry needs to continue to make room at the table for more women.
The farming industry has sometimes included misogynistic practices, sexism and discrimination towards women. As such, Brandi continues to advocate for anyone who wants to be a woman rancher or farmer as well as for more leadership opportunities for women like her.
How are women in ranching and farming helping with sustainability?
Brandi is very direct. She believes wholeheartedly that we all have to take care of the land. She wants it to be there to give back to the next generations.
Brandi acknowledges there are some farmers who are afraid of change and who are slower to accept new methods and practices. Sometimes they don’t want to change, because they lack the exposure needed to facilitate the changes or they don’t understand how much better their farms can be improved with sustainable changes.
What is the one thing you need to know about farmers and ranchers?
What often gets lost on consumers is that farmers and ranchers really care. They care about the land. They care about their animals. They care about us…the people they are helping to feed.
It is clear to me that they go above and beyond the daily duties of running a farm or ranch. Once, a cow Brandi had for a long time was sick. She worked with the vet to find the issue, but sadly the cow could not be saved.
Brandi didn’t just let it go. She went the extra mile and paid for an autopsy, so they could figure out what happened. She didn’t have to do that, but she chose to because she cares so deeply about her herd. The cow turned out to have had cancer, and so there would have been nothing Brandi or the vet would have been able to do for her.
Brandi wants everyone to understand that for every story of animal abuse you read about in the newspaper, there are thousands of stories of farmers who take awesome care of their animals that you will never read about.
These caring farmers and ranchers just want to be seen and heard. They want to be involved at every level of the agriculture industry, including at the governmental level. They want a seat at the table where decisions are being made, and part of the agencies where policies are being set.
Are women the future of ranching and farming?
Short answer…YES! Given what we currently know about the land and food sourcing around the world, it would not surprise me if women not only solve our food supply issues, but save our lands while doing it.
It is time for a new voice in the farming industry and for that voice to be heard. Brandi and other women in ranching and farming do not want to eliminate male farmers, but simply to work with them. They just want a seat at the table.
Bottom Line: Farmers and ranchers need our help! Here’s what you can do.
Why am I sharing all this with you? Well, it is clear to me that farmers and ranchers truly care about their land and the animals they raise. Most of them go above and beyond to tend to their farms and only want the best for our overall environment. But, they cannot do it alone.
We, as consumers, can play a major role in helping to support women in ranching and farming. We can demand they have a seat at the table where policy is being set about how our food is grown, raised, processed and how the earth is cared for.
We can support local farms by buying their products and supporting their myriad of businesses. And we can encourage the farmers we meet, especially if one of them is a woman rancher or farmer. Let’s let them know they are essential to our lives and we are so grateful for them.
You can start by following Brandi on instagram! She gets credit for all of these amazing photos.
If you are interested in learning more about women in ranching and farming. Here are some great resources.
Thank you to sponsors of the virtual #FarmFoodTour
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.