This image resonated with people across the world on International Rural Women’s Day. On my socials alone it had over 1000 interactions
If you have LinkedIn account the comments in this feed are fascinating
Keri Jacobs post stopped me in my tracks. She could have been writing about my family.
Below is a cut and paste of what Keri wrote
Pioneer’s ad hits a nerve. A deep one. A bittersweet one. I hope my experience about who can be a farmer will help someone else. I am a farm kid. A farmer’s daughter. One of three. My grandpa and grandma were farmers, my great-grandparents were farmers. It’s a history and upbringing I am proud of. For most of my childhood, I imagined I would one day be a farmer’s wife. I would follow my mom’s, grandmas’, aunts’ footsteps and be the behind-the-scenes support: the meal-maker, the bookkeeper, the late-night-field-runs taker, the do-everything-else-that-must-get-done-when-he-is-farming person.
Hey, wait. Maybe I could farm? It took a lot of years for me to figure out that I wanted at least some of my time on this earth to be spent intricately tied to the land–our family’s land–and farming like my dad and grandpa were. It’s in my blood.
But the decisions had been made, even before I was born. There was nothing that anyone could do about it, not really even by the one who COULD have changed it. I will never forget the time I challenged this. There was one person with the ability to make or break my desire to be one of our family’s farmers. I asked if I could one day own some of the family’s land, when it was time to pass it along. I did not expect equal ownership with my male cousins, just a small piece of the land that I grew up on, played on, rode with Dad in the tractor on, walked bean fields on, and where we buried our family pets. The same land that raised my Dad and grandpa. Something to own and farm and carry on. But it was not possible.
Why? Because somewhere along the way, maybe even before my grandparent’s had a say, farming became about a family name. A legacy rooted in our surname, and therefore in gender. It broke my heart when I was told that if I wanted to farm and own land, I should marry a farmer. I was handed a plat book so I could see who owned land in the area. I was told I would have to marry into land.
As a woman who might take another man’s name in marriage, I was a threat to the family’s legacy. I was a threat to what my grandparents and their parents built. Because of my gender.
I hope this is changing. I think it is. I see examples of how it is. And I love this ad for pointing out a really big problem…and a really amazing change and opportunity. Our collective notion and nostalgia about a way of life historically tied more to gender than to things that really matter, like desire, ability, and values is changing.
We cannot take land with us when we die. Who can say for sure, but we also probably cannot enjoy it after we die. If you are a farmer wondering who will continue YOUR legacy of caring for the land, caring for animals, caring for the environment, producing the foods we eat, I hope you will evaluate your successor on the things that made YOU a great farmer. My grandpa was a great farmer. That fact had nothing to do with his gender or last name.
Thank you Keri beautifully expressed and this from Peyton Merriam
We move the peg as a society when we embrace diversity and inclusion as an industry, not just individually. Let’s keep challenging the status quo!