Daily Archives: July 6, 2009

If Women can end war (as in Liberia), maybe they could also fix agriculture!

Strange as it may seem, something of the sort may already be happening. According to a recent report in the Globe and Mail newspaper, conventional agribusiness-style farmers in Quebec are having trouble finding women who want to share the farming life with them. Here’s an except from the story by Ingrid Peritz, from June 30, 2009 “Heartache in Quebec’s Farming Heartland“:

He looks like a nice guy. Too bad he didnt go into organic farming instead. Lets look at some new answers to the age-old question of What do women want?. Photo from the Globe and Mail.

He looks like a nice guy. Too bad he didn't go into organic farming instead of agribiz. Perhaps it's time to look at some new answers to the age-old question "What do women want?". Photo from the Globe and Mail.

“He’s got blue eyes and a rugged gait, steady work and a sensitive side that makes him appreciate the beauty of a big country sky. By many standards, Mario Bouthillier is a catch.

He farms two sprawling pieces of land in rural Quebec that have proven fertile soil for corn, hay and soya. But they haven’t proven fruitful for producing love.

“You could be the best person in the world,” the 27-year-old said on his farm recently, “but you remain a farmer. It’s the best job in the world to me, but there are still prejudices….”

“…..Women willing to sacrifice long hours to farm work are scarcer than they once were, and farming’s image has suffered over the years.

Young singles like Mr. Bouthillier are sprouting up all along Quebec’s lonely rural roads, causing not only heartache in the Quebec heartland but a threat to the survival of the province’s family farms.

Only a generation ago, a farm typically had a hard-working couple and a brood of children. Now it can easily be populated by a single male like Mr. Bouthillier, who has had several girlfriends but has yet to find his lifelong companion.

In less than 40 years, the percentage of young single farmers has doubled in Quebec, leaving one in four farmers under the age of 35 unmarried, according to Statistics Canada….”

‘When we were a Catholic society, the image of agriculture was held in esteem,’ Prof. Parent said from Quebec City. ‘Now it’s the opposite. It’s one thing if you’re an organic vegetable producer. Being a pig farmer is not exactly a winning formula when you show up at a bar.’…”

Note that difference! Women go for organic vegetable farmers and don’t go for pig farmers who run Confined Animal Feeding Operations. Which sort of farms and which sort of farmers will be soon be dying out due to lack of descendants and which will have flourishing farm families to carry their modes of food production into the future?

Read the whole story here on the Globe and Mail website.

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