Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


A structural symbolic interactionist approach was used to explain the relationship between the identified social factors and the farm wives' involvement in farm operational decisions, as well as what the farm wives say about their role as farmers. Participants were 23 farm couples from four counties in eastern South Dakota. A multidimensional approach was taken; both questionnaire (quantitative) and face-to-face interview (qualitative) data were collected. Some patterns in the data were found; for instance, when economic aspects of the agrarian ideology were considered, the wife was more involved in economic but not farm management decisions. And when the disorganization dimensions of the agrarian ideology were considered, the wife was less involved in farm management but not economic decisions. The qualitative data gave insights into how the farm wife perceives her role to be on the farm, both as a decision-maker and as a farmer. Women do participate in farm operational decisions and in farm tasks; however, they do so in varying degrees. Furthermore, women continue to identity themselves as "farmers" even though their work roles may take them off the farm. Moreover, they may decide to work off the farm in order to maintain their identity as a farmer.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Farm management -- Decision making
Farmers' spouses -- South Dakota
Women in agriculture -- South Dakota
Women farmers -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University