Time is short, so I will just make one brief comment.
Regarding the predominance of white males in positions of
prominence, authority, power (whatever) in American agriculture (as
per the cover of the farm magazine), I have observed a profound
change in the membership of this club when it comes to grass-based
systems and the sustag community. It has become so obvious, that I
have found myself commenting on it more than once.
When I first starting giving talks to farm conferences about 15
years ago, and I spoke almost exclusively on grazing in those days,
it was rare to find a woman in the audience. If there was one, she
was white haired, silent, and knitting (no aspersions there; my hair
is rapidly graying and I wish I could knit).
Now, when I speak to farm conferences - about once a month in the
fall and winter months - or field days and workshops during the
summer months, pretty close to half of the audience is women. It is
not unusual to see whole families in the audience where once it was
just men (again, no aspersions on men; happen to like them just fine,
but some diversity is a great joy and inspiration to me). My topics
these days are more wide ranging, including sustag and GE as well as
pasture and grazing management. And granted, I don't seem to recall
being invited to speak at many mainstream, high tech, conferences.
But it is nonetheless striking to look out across an auditorium and
see so many women (and families) in the audience.
So, yes, while the stereotypical American (and Canadian) "farmer" is
white and male, there is an upwelling of greater diversity in at
least some sectors. In the context of grazing, it seems that women
are at least the equal of men in most respects, because the "work" is
mostly upstairs - not in the brawn area. In the sustag
community....? Don't know. Perhaps from non-farm background with
lesser emphasis on the gender-based roles? Ann
Dr. E. Ann Clark
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
FAX: 519 763-8933
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