The Changing Role Of Women Pig Farmers

Wanda (left) and Jan (right) have been blazing trails for women pig farmers.
Wanda (left) and Jan (right) have been blazing trails for women pig farmers.

As someone who has been raising pigs for a long time, Wanda Patsche has noticed a number of changes in the role of women in pig farming in just the past five to 10 years.

“Women have worked in the pig barns for many years,” admits Patsche, who has farmed with her husband the past 38 years in Minnesota. “However, women are now starting to build and own these barns. They are now major stakeholders.”

Jan Archer, who currently serves as vice president of the National Pork Board is certainly one who fits that description. Even though she didn’t come from an agricultural background, she discovered a love for livestock while in college. Following graduation, she worked in a variety of pork industry jobs before settling down in 1991 in North Carolina where she owns a 1,200-sow farm with her husband. In addition to her role in producing weaning pigs, Archer has an independent consulting business in which she works with farmers delivering PQA Plus and TQA training. She also manages an Ag Advocacy training program and administers an intern program for the North Carolina Pork Council.

“From my observations, women historically became pig farmers because they married one,” Archer says. “However, in today’s environment, more and more women are graduating from college with the intention of going into agriculture. These women are becoming the voice of agriculture and the voice of their farms.”

Wanda agrees saying that young women in her area are helping to expand their family farms.

“I could not be more proud of these young confident women who are joining the industry and are ready to face the challenge of farming and raising pigs,” said Patsche. “I am so excited that these women are really showing what real pig farming is all about!”