A mother’s tasks in a Texas farm family shows how the role of women in agriculture is now vitally important in managing the business of farming and using best practices to conserve soil and water.

The image most people have of the family farm probably comes from a half-century ago or more. It may be based on family stories about grandparents or great grandparents who supported their family on a few hundred acres or less with a variety of livestock, vegetables and field crops.

Not growing up on the farm, Kelly Whatley shared this romanticized view of agriculture with many Americans – then she married a farmer and joined the farm family. She soon learned firsthand today’s family farm operates on a larger scale and looks far different than the small picturesque farm she’d pictured.

Now, America’s family farm is likely to include multiple generations, in-laws and possibly neighbors and support half a dozen households. There is a role for everyone, and the increasing role played by women in daily farm operations is a story that needs to be told.

The Whatley family farm is adapting to survive. They’re doing it in a way that is sustainable: that respects and conserves our natural resources. Family farms like theirs also are revitalizing economic opportunities in rural communities – like the Blue Ribbon Feed and Country Store.