Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Meredith Redlin


This research shows that women’s farming identities are changing inline with their increased representation in agriculture in general, but specifically reflective of women’s increased autonomy in decision-making. This is especially evident among women who are primary operators, but increased equality is also apparent for women farming in partnerships. These key findings align with current identity research (see Brasier et al. 2014) and demonstrate the multiplicity of roles that women fulfill on the farm, and how these roles change in alignment with farming practices. This exploratory research draws from Feminist standpoint theory and situated knowledge to develop qualitative interview protocol to study women’s changing farmer identities. A sample of women farmers (n=26) from three states in the Upper Midwest was used to explore farmer identities, farm practices, use of farming networks, perceptions of climate change and adaption methods. Findings indicate that research on the changing demographics of women in agriculture needs to address how women are adapting to climate change, as this group will face some of the greatest impacts from climate change. Finally, how women farm illustrates the relationship among farmer identity and farming practices, and how these statuses influence one’s position along a climate change continuum, thus how women farmers adapt to climate change. Additionally, women are relying on formal and informal networks to support their farming. This knowledge can support and guide women as they continue to increase in representation in all areas of agriculture, and contribute to understanding the varying ways in which women farmers are adapting to these changes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Women in agriculture -- Middle West
Women farmers -- Middle West -- Attitudes
Climatic changes
Agricultural information networks


Includes bibliographical references (pages 179-186)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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