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United Soybean Board reports:

Agriculture has evolved over the last 10 years in many facets, including technology, equipment and best practices. Another way that it has changed is the number of farmers from different backgrounds who are now the main decision makers on their operations.

Women farmers are one of the most rapidly growing segments of the nation's changing agricultural landscape. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, the number of woman-operated farms more than doubled between 1982 and 2012.

Add primary and secondary operators, and nearly 1 million women are farming, accounting for 30 percent of U.S. farmers. Furthermore, 14 percent of the nation's 2.1 million farms and 22 percent of its 369,332 oilseed farms had a female principal operator in 2012.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Services, the number of minority and young farmers is also increasing, with African American and Hispanic farmers increasing by 12 and 21 percent, respectively, from 2007 to 2012. In that same time frame, the number of American Indian farmers increased by 5 percent.

Women and minority farmers are part of the resurgence in agriculture that is bringing renewed spirit to communities and the economy, creating jobs and forging strong connections among farmers, businesses and consumers. It's important to the farmer-leaders of the soy checkoff to continue to represent the farmers they serve, and that means continuing to focus on diversity at the local, state and national levels.

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