Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 18, 1976 · Page 35
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 35

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 18, 1976
Page 35
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Page 35 article text (OCR)

8C -July 18, 1976 Sunday Gatette-Mail Charleston, West Virginia Changing Times, Machinery Bring Women to Farm Farmer's Daughter, Farmer's Wife Jonny Scott Watches Her Husband Move Their Giant Combine Across a Field Farming Partners Jonnvand Norman "Butch" Scott In the riew of some cruily old farmers it just ain't right. But it't a fact. More and more women are sharing the farm work, and the farm management, with their menfolk. But women'* lib, it seems, has lets to do with the development than power steering. By Dave Bartel WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Emerging from the cattle pen, Jonny Scott kicked the dirt from her boots and brushed off her blue slacks. "The fields are too muddy to work in, so I'm just helping my husband get things cleaned up a little," she said, the bright Kansas sunshine glinting from her sunglasses. Cleaning cattle pens may seem a most unfeminine task by most housewives' standards, but Jonny Scott's labors on this spring day are a small indicator of the expanding roles women are playing down on the farm. * + * MRS. SCOTT, a petite woman in her mid-30s, is a farmer's daughter and a farmer's wife. She also considers herself a farmer and a partner with her husband Norman, better known as Butch, in the family's enterprise -- 1,000 acres of wheat, milo and a small cattle herd. In her three decades from childhood to wife and mother of two teen-aged girls, Mrs. Scott has been part of a slow revolution in which many farm women have moved from tending a garden and feeding the chickens to driving a tractor and sharing in the daily decisions of modern agriculture. "I was one of five girls and we never went near the machinery," she remembers. "My mother never did field work. She had a big garden and some chickens, but her activities were centered around the home, not in the fields." Life on the farm is a different story for Jonny Scott. She is one of about 500,000 women who today take an active part in producing the nation's food. She also is an example of an emerging female farmer who is at home in the seat of a tractor as in her kitchen. "I do some of the plowing and cultivating, help spread fertilizer and run a combine or truek-during harvest," she said. "Planting, I don't do. Butch likes the rows straight as an arrow and the way I drive a tractor just doesn't do it." She also is bookkeeper, cook, homemaker, seamstress and a kind of Jane-of-all- trades who has proven valuable in the demanding world of farming and ranching. * * * THE 1970 CENSUS indicated women made up about 10 per cent of the farm work force, but the U.S. Department of Labor estimates last year nearly 16 per cent of all farm workers were female. "I don't think there is any doubt that women are taking a bigger role in agriculture these days." said Frank Carpenter, associate dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture. "Our enrollment of women is up tremendously in the past five years and they're going into every field, from horticulture and animal science to agricultural economics and management." * *·* IN THE FALL of 1971, Kansas State enrolled 112 women as agriculture majors, barely 8 per cent of the college's total enrollment. Last fall, the number of women in agriculture courses climbed to 486 and nearly one of every four students in the college was a woman. In spite of this enrollment boom, Carpenter added, there continues to be a shortage of qualified women in major agribusiness firms that are begging for female employes. "We can't fill the demand," he said. "Some companies come here just to interview women for their job openings. Part of that may be because of affirmative action programs, but it's also because businesses have found women are doing an excellent job in places normally thought to be reserved for men." In recent years, Kansas State has sent its women graduates to such jobs as hybrid hog research, agricultural chemical and fertilizer sales, riding fence for a large feedlot, and meat marketing specialist for the Kansas State Board of Agriculture. "It's a changing world," Carpenter added, "and we know some things are changing on the family farm, too. Women have always taken a part in farming, but now il appears more women are working side- by-side with their husbands, driving a tractor or helping make the financial decisions." Or, as in the case of Florence Dumler ol Russell, Kans., assuming control of the family farm after the death of a husband. Hints for Food Hot diced beets can captivate appetites, especially when they're prepared with orange butter. Melt '/i cup (¥2 stick) butter; add 1 tablespoon of grated orange peel and 3 tablespoons orange juice. Pour over hot beets. Pitching In Together to Repair Combine ! \\as One of Five Girls and \Ve Never Went Near the Machinery" DRIVER EDUCATION SUMMER SCHOOL BEGINSJUtY 19 744-5816 343-9774 CALLTO ENROLL r APITOL DRIVING SCHOOl MR. STEAM HYDRO-JET CARPET CLEANING LET US TREAT .{W1THSAFKUAW Out Dirt; Helps P r e v e n t E x c e s s i v e Ask Us About RESTORING FADED CARPET TO ORIGINAL COLOR, AS WE CLEAN! FREE ESTIMATES Modern, Sanitary, Jet- Spray Cleaning action and Strong Vacuiim Suction gets deep down dirt out, restores Carpet to new life and Appearance. Call today for free estimate! tot if Tm?CilCikct! 3410519 OUR 29TH YEAR inttiMt IKUT ». Mrs. Dumler, a 54-year-old grandmother, decided to continue farming with the help of her son, Carl, after her husband died in 1973. She farms 1,200 acres of wheat. · . "I had always helped my husband," said Mrs. Deumler. "He always wanted me to work with him and be a full partner." * * * WHEN HER husband died, his wife became one of 100,000 women who own or manage a farm. Women farm managers remain a 6 per cent minority in the multibillion dollar business of agriculture, but Department of Labor statistics show their ranks have grown more than 30,000 in the past five years. Mrs. Dumler was the first woman ever named to the Kansas Wheat Commission, an agency that supervises wheat research and promotion, and also the first woman to take a seat on the board of Great Plains Wheat Inc., a farmer's cooperative that develops foreign markets for American grain. "Women are becoming more involved in all parts of agriculture," Mrs. Dumler said. "We've been active in agriculture for years but we haven't taken a leadership role. That's changing a little now and I think we'll see more of it in the future." She concedes there has been some resistance from both male and female colleagues, but nothing major, and her rise as a farm leader has never been depicted as a battle of the sexes. "I am a farmer." she explained. "I own a farm, just like many men and like many other women. If you pay the taxes and buy the machinery, you're a farmer automatically. Whether you're a man or a woman has nothing to do with it. 1 ' JONNY SCOTT has similar sentiments. "It's-not a competitive thing for me: I don't feel I have to compete with Butch or prove something," Jonny Scott said. "I don't run things and I don't want to. Butch tells me what needs to be done and I do it." . Mrs. Dumler and Mrs. Scott reject the notion that women's liberation is a moving force in the farm wife's expanding role in agruculture. They say powerful economic be niod~ Clique 125.00 Qrandniolhcr -- knew (he beauly of (he Filigree dinner ring. Now you can know the elegance which adorned lovdy ladies generations ago. Quality and tradition combine to bring you style onrl charm trom the past. The Above Styles Are Also Available As Mounting. forces, such as increased mechanization and a deepening shortage of skilled farm labor, have propelled women into the fields. "Twenty years ago it was physically impossible for most women to do field work because they didn't have the muscle to handle the machinery," Butch Scott said. "Now everything has power steering. The machinery is as easy to handle as the family car." Bigger and more powerful machines also have displaced the full-time hired hand, but farmers like the Scotts still must have help in the busy planting and harvesting seasons. They face increasing problems finding qualified help when it's needed. "It's almost impossible to find good help anymore," he said. "But my wife is here all the time to run for a machinery part or help during the busy times. Without her, I'd have to find a hired hand to do il. She makes a big difference.'' Shouldering the work together, the Scotts have reduced their operating expenses and made a secure, comfortable life for their family in their modern, red brick farmhouse nestled behind a grove of pines and a well-manicured lawn. "My mother-in-law teases me sometimes about how much time I spend in the fields." Jonny Scott said. "Some people don't consider it lady-like. But I enjoy being outdoors and working with Butch. We work together. We like it thatway." Because we care WE HAVE YOUR SIZE! ASK FOR "401" S 22 100 m\\: WHEN ORDERING BY MAIL, PLEASE INCLUDE $1.50 FOR TAX AND POSTAGE. . | SHOLS | john lee * 237 CAPITOL STREET

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