During the 2013 Super Bowl, Marjorie Gayle Alaniz was captivated by a commercial for Dodge Ram trucks that featured portraits of American farmers. She couldn’t help but notice, however, that among the many farmers shown, there were only a handful of women. Alaniz, who comes from a family of Iowa farmers, was disappointed. “I wondered, how has this happened, that images of farms don’t include women, when practically every farm has a woman working on it?” Indeed, according to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture, 46 percent of American farm operators are women.
Shortly after her Super Bowl revelation, Alaniz quit her job at a crop insurance company and started documenting women farmers in Central Iowa. The result is FarmHer, an online collection of photographs of some 40 lady farmers and counting. “The feedback has been fabulous,” says Alaniz. “It’s usually coming from women who grew up around agriculture or are currently involved in ag. They say, ‘Thank you for showing the rest of the world that we are out here doing this, too.'”