‘If there’s no water, what’s the point?’ Female farmers in Arizona

Arizona has the highest proportion of female farmers – but conditions in this dry desert landscape aren’t easy, and rural isolation has created a tapestry of challenges

By 9am, it’s already 100F (38C). In the desert afternoons, rain gathers on the horizon, teasing – and then it disappears. There is so much heaviness, so much waiting. I pulled on to the ranch of Anastasia Rabin with Audra Mulkern, a Washington-based photographer and founder of the Female Farmer Project. We were on assignment for a story and chasing a statistic: according to the most recent US census, Arizona is the state with the highest proportion of female farm operators.

Despite the fact that women have always farmed, they have been left out of our agricultural narrative. An incomplete story has real consequences: women have been left off land titles and bank documents; they have been denied federal loans and training opportunities; and until the 1982 census of agriculture, female farmers were not counted at all.

At Anastasia’s, we shadowed her on her daily chores – as she milked the goats and then walked them out on the range to browse the desert brush. And she introduced us to Jo Geerdes, her 78-year-old neighbor and mentor. At the confluence of their stories, we felt the pull of possibility: the potential for mentorship between female farmers and the […]

More about Arizona water issues:

The Water Wars of Arizona

What you don’t know about the water law that saved Arizona

Who controls the water? Arizona agencies slug it out

The water war that will decide the fate of 1 in 8 Americans

How a purple school bus brings clean drinking water to Navajo Nation

Arizonians’ Thyroid Problems May Be Linked To Perchlorate In Drinking Water

Arizona’s Water Supplies

Summary
'If there's no water, what's the point?' Female farmers in Arizona
Article Name
'If there's no water, what's the point?' Female farmers in Arizona
Description
Despite the fact that women have always farmed, they've been left out of our agricultural narrative. An incomplete story has consequences: women left off land titles and bank documents; denied federal loans and training opportunities. Uuntil the 1982 census of agriculture, female farmers were not counted at all.
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The Guardian
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