Farm Women: Work, Farm, and Family in the United States

Farm Women: Work, Farm, and Family in the United States

Farm Women: Work, Farm, and Family in the United States

Farm Women: Work, Farm, and Family in the United States

Synopsis

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Excerpt

Less than 3 percent of the U.S. population lives and works on farms. Social scientists and people in general tend to forget about this segment of the country or to think of it as marginal. Yet the state of U.S. agriculture influences the country's standard of living through the cost of food and affects its trade balance and foreign policy by providing agricultural surplus for export. There are women connected in some way with most U.S. farms, but the work of these women is even less noticed, since farming is thought to be done by men. This book focuses attention on some of the nation's farm women--those who operate their own farms or are wives of farm operators. It looks at the way the nature of their farms and their families shape the work they do, on and off the farm, with or without pay. While this is not the first book on the subject of farm women, it is the first to use data from a national sample. I hope that this book not only proves valuable for understanding farm women's lives but also stimulates others to look into the Farm Women Survey data set for further research and possible follow-up.

Although I lived on a farm for two years as a child and have parents who live in a rural area, I did not turn to farm women as a research topic until 1979, when as a Senior Study Director at the National Opinion Research Center, with an interest in women and work, I was asked if I would like to be principal investigator of a survey of farm women, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farm women and their work sounded interesting, so I enthusiastically agreed. In the fall of 1979, NORC and USDA signed a cooperative research agreement (58-319T-9-0376) to carry out a national survey of farm women.

During the survey I worked with a number of people at NORC and USDA who deserve to be acknowledged here. Calvin Jones was the NORC Project Director. He kept the process going, participated in all stages of the survey--from initial conception to writing the report (Jones and Rosenfeld 1981)--and is largely responsible for the . . .

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