Federal census better recognizes Wisconsin's female farmers

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest census shows that the number of female producers on Wisconsin farms increased by 16% between 2012 and 2017.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the federal agency counted 38,509 female producers on Wisconsin farms in the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which was released this month. The census says women account for 35% of all producers in the state.

Greg Bussler is the agency's statistician for Wisconsin. Bussler says the increase is partly due to changes to the survey after the last census in 2012.

The 2017 census included new data about demographics and the role of producers in making decisions on farms. The recent survey also allowed more producers to be counted per farm and more than one producer to be listed as a principal operator.