Celebrating more than 40 Years
American Agri-Women officially began November 14, 1974, founded by four state women’s agriculture groups which had formed: Women for the Survival of Agriculture in Michigan; Wisconsin Women for Agriculture; Oregon Women for Agriculture; and the Washington Women for the Survival of Agriculture. Kansas Agri-Women (then United Farm Wives of Kansas) and Illinois Agri-Women (then Illinois Women for Agriculture) joined soon thereafter.
Today, AAW has more than 50 state and commodity affiliate organizations as well as individual members throughout the country, representing tens of thousands of women involved in agriculture. Throughout the history of AAW, our members have been actively involved and making a difference in legislative and regulatory matters at the local, state, and national levels. We have also been instrumental in student and consumer education about agriculture, having initiated the Agriculture in the Classroom program at the national level are integrally involved in national and state programs still today.
Here’s a little more about our early years, from a book about our first 20 years, “A Proud Heritage – A Precious Legacy.” Here is an excerpt: “Beset with many serious problems, American Agriculture, as a fragmented industry, lacked a single voice through which to speak to bring about effective change. Many felt agriculture needed to develop a voice to speak for the entire industry. Women were to play an important role in developing a united voice for agriculture. In 1969, a group of women in Oregon organized as a result of government regulations banning farmers burning fields. Oregon Women for Agriculture (OWA) stood alone, for their husbands were too busy farming to respond and fight the forces that were determining the course of American Agriculture.”
To read more, download “A Proud Heritage … A Precious Legacy.”
Continuing Our Legacy
American Agri-Women has reached the tremendous milestone of now celebrating 40 years of advocating for agriculture; educating legislators, regulators and consumers; and empowering its members.
AAW is now the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agri-business women. Our members are ranchers, farmers, producers, agri-business professionals, educators, consumers, students, researchers and many others. New national affiliates have joined us recently, strengthening our voice and influence.
In fact, AAW now has an international reach, through partnerships with Canadian Agri-Women as well as the Farmer-to-Farmer program (a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by Catholic Relief Services).
Here is a message from Sue McCrum, who served as President during our 40th year: “Be it educating students and consumers or taking members’ messages of concern and support to our local, state and national representatives, advocating for agriculture is what we do best. By coming together as an organization, with thousands of women representing agriculture, our voice are credible. We have a lifetime of first-hand experiences from our farms and ranches.”
Read more about our second 20 years in Volume II of “A Proud Heritage … A Precious Legacy.