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Women Farmers of the Pacific Northwest

Diane Choplin | United States

Cheryl Hollabaugh of Hollabaugh Custom-Raised Meats, barns her flock nightly to protect against predators. Ewes and lambs alike can't wait to get back out on pasture in the early am.

In January 2019 the NYTimes ran an article about female ranchers reclaiming the Amercian West, in part, due to technology transforming the ranching industry as well as shifts in consciousness surrounding animal husbandry practices: producer and consumer interest in humane handling, environmental impact and holistic management to name a few. Furthermore, recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture data revealed 29.13% of U.S. farms have female principal operators, up 15.47% from 2012. The majority of these women are in the cattle industry.

As a woman running livestock of my own, I find the trends stated above doubly interesting and, this spring launched a photo project to better know my colleagues, what motivates them and how our collective choices as female owners and operators are shaping local food systems.

These images are just the beginning. They are my first two farm visits, ranches local to my own so I can return again and again, deepening the access while also documenting various seasons. I have another dozen to complete this summer in NE Oregon and in Washington, with additional PNW contacts in the works.

I can't wait to see how this all comes together and credit Michael Pollan and Audra Mulkern (among many others) for getting this farmer/photographer fired up about researching and representing food systems.

Thank you for taking a look.

2017 Census of Agriculture Data, released April 2019

"Female Ranchers are Reclaiming the American West," Amy Chozick (writer) and Amanda Lucier (photographer) for the NYTimes, January 2019.

diane@dianechoplin.com | 1-541-851-1353

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