Women in Agriculture: Farms, Operations, and Demographics for Iowa and Counties

April 10, 2016

By Madeline Schultz

Among Iowa’s counties, four (Ad­ams, Dickinson, Ida, Montgomery) had fewer than 170 women as farm operators. In contrast, Clayton, Delaware, Linn, Warren, and Win­neshiek each recorded more than 600 women farm operators.  

Statewide, women made up 25.0 percent of all reported farm oper­ators. Counties in northwest Iowa tended to have the lowest propor­tions of women farm operators. Thirty percent or more of all farm operators were women in Decatur, Jefferson, Lucas, Polk, Warren, and Winneshiek Counties. Among all of Iowa’s farms, 35.4 percent reported at least one woman farm operator.

This fascinating data and more was gathered and reported on by Sandra Burke, Senior Researcher with the Iowa State University Community Vitality Center. She presented her data in a March 22, 2016 webinar on the topic. The archived webinar can be viewed here:


To view Sandra’s webinar slides or completed report, go to the indicators portal noted below, or see the PDF documents linked to this news story.

Women in Agriculture User Guide March 2016.pdf

Women in Agriculture Data, Webinar Slides March 22, 2016.pdf

Sandra’s work with women in agriculture data is part of the ISU Extension and Outreach Indicators Portal which makes it easier to find, use and visualize data about Iowa. The tools designed by the team are useful at both the local and regional decision maker level. The Indicators Portal is currently up and running in beta version, and some features are still in development. It is available to Iowa State University faculty, staff, students and the general public to view content, test user interface and provided comments and recommendation. Click on http://indicators.extension.iastate.edu/.

To contact Sandra Burke, visit her web site at: https://www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/sandra-burke.