Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 593–605 | Cite as

She works hard for the money: women in Kansas agriculture

  • Jennifer A. Ball


Since 1997 there has been a significant increase in the number and percentage of Kansas farmers who are women. Using Reskin and Roos’ (Job queues, gender queues: explaining women’s inroads into male occupations, Temple University Press, Philidelphia, 1990) model of “job queues and gender queues” I analyze changes in the agricultural industry in Kansas that resulted in more women becoming “principal farm operators” in the state. I find there are three changes largely responsible for women increasing their representation in the occupation: an increase in the demand for niche products, a decrease in the average farm size, and greater societal acceptance of women as farmers. This study adds to the growing literature on women principal farm operators in developed countries, and is among the first to explore why women are becoming a larger percentage of the occupation in the United States.


Women and agriculture Female farmers Kansas agriculture Occupational segregation by sex 



The author thanks John Walker, Michael Seeborg, Cal Melick, participants of the Missouri Valley Economics Association annual meeting, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Funding for an academic sabbatical from Washburn University is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessWashburn UniversityTopekaUSA

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