Redefining Rural America, One Woman at a Time
By Stephanie Metzinger I t’s the iconic depiction of agriculture—a farmer driving his tractor at sunrise, walking the fields to check on his budding crops and brushing the dirt off his freshly picked produce. Though this scene is thought to be the most common portrayal of farm life, something significant is missing: the women. Women make up a third of the nation’s farmers, generating nearly $12.9 billion in agricultural sales on a yearly basis. These 970,000 female farmers are the thought leaders behind innovative concepts that bring more fresh produce into the homes of Americans. They are the full-time owners and operators, family
experience in running a business, Filice decided to carry on Chuck’s vision and led the operation with the support and guidance of several dedicated employees. She quickly embraced new technologies being developed to improve farm operations and has since been a leader in implementing innovation in the field. Filice Farms was among the first to use tractors that were guided by GPS technology on its fields. These tractors allowed drivers to do a more efficient job of plowing the field, and in turn, saved the operation a significant amount on fuel and labor.
matriarchs, community volunteers and agriculture advocates that are paving the way for a more nutritious future. Take for example, Kay Filice, president and owner of Filice Farms in Hollister, Calif. Filice broke away from her rural roots when she decided to move from Iowa to San Francisco in the ‘70s to pursue a career in sales and marketing. When she met her husband, Chuck, shortly after, she found herself back in a rural setting and on the farm. Chuck—a second generation vegetable farmer in Central California—managed the day-to-day operations of their family farm while she raised their boys and managed the summer apricot production and processing. When Chuck passed away in 1998, she was faced with a life-changing decision: sell the farm and start a new life with her three sons or continue the business her husband and his parents had passionately developed. Though she had little to no
Kay Filice, Filice Farms
6 Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com MAY | JUNE 2018
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