2 Arizona Counties Lead The Nation In Women Operating Farms

By Carrie Jung
Published: Monday, November 14, 2016 - 8:34am
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2016 - 6:27pm

Women in Arizona are taking on more prominent roles in the state’s agriculture industry. Apache and Navajo counties rank Number 1 and 2 nationally for the number of women operating farms.

According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, women are the principal operators of 57 percent of Navajo County farms.

Officials with the Arizona Farm Bureau said tribal communities in the county with matriarchal farming traditions are partly behind the female dominance there. Julie Murphree, an agency spokeswoman, added more women are also heading up organic urban farms statewide.

"You’re finding them there because most of the time while they may be small they’re taking the retail angle," Murphree explained. "They might be growing organic produce that their either providing through a CSA or also because they sell through a farmers market."

Murphree said the biggest challenge women are facing when breaking into the industry is access to land. She explained most end up leasing property or partnering with municipalities to work community plots.

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