The importance of women in agriculture

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 3:34 PM EDT
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TOWN OF CHAMPION, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s National Agriculture Week. It’s also Women’s History Month. With that in mind, we turn the spotlight onto a long time north country dairy farmer to talk about the importance of women in agriculture.

Peggy Murray is a partner with Murcrest Farms in the town of Champion. She’s been with the farm for 43 years. Whether people realize it or not, Murray says women have a large role in the agriculture business.

“We’re not just married to a farmer; that we’re actually hands-on, very involved in agriculture, have a lot of the decision making and, you know, in a lot of cases, run the business,” she said.

Murray used to milk cows and feed calves, but now she handles the farm’s finances. She got into the agriculture business after marrying her husband, a dairy farmer.

“I didn’t grow up on a dairy farm. I didn’t go to school for agriculture. I never thought of that as an opportunity and I would like that to change,” she said.

And it has. Murray says she has noticed more women becoming farmers, like her daughter-in-law, Sara, who joined Murcrest Farms about 11 years ago. Sara notices a trend too.

“A lot of my friends, especially from college, were in dairy science and they fell into more management positions and are really on a path to take over their family farms,” said Sara.

Murray says that when it comes to the agriculture business, it’s important for women to not sell themselves short.

“You’re not a farmer’s wife. You are a farmer and I think that that’s real important,” she said.

Whether it’s in the milking parlor or in the office, Murray says women play an essential part of an already essential business.

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