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FarmHer

An Iowa woman is telling the female story of agriculture through her camera lens
Photo courtesy of Marji Guyler-Alaniz

When Marji Guyler-Alaniz of Urbandale, Iowa, sat down to watch the 2013 Super Bowl, she had no idea that it would totally change her career path. She was awestruck by Paul Harvey’s “God Made a Farmer” speech during the game, and the beautiful images of farmers that went with it.

But Marji also noticed that there were very few women in those images.

"Women are a part of almost every farm operation in some way or another, but why don’t you ever see the women portrayed as the farmer or the rancher, or side-by-side with the farmer? So, I woke my husband up the next night and told him I figured out what it was that I was going to do, and that was photograph women in agriculture and share their stories, and work to help update the image of agriculture to include women," says Marji.

Marji quit her job in crop insurance and picked up her camera. Not sure where to begin, she called a couple of women who were interviewed in a recent article she had read about women and farming. Both were eager to be a part of Marji’s project, which is a website called “FarmHer.” From there, the ball was rolling.

Marji travels with her camera around the Midwest and wants to expand to other parts of the country as well. Every image that she captures has a specific goal.

"In the images you’ll see that there’s not always a lot of faces. You often times will see a hand, or the way their foot is positioned against a horse, or something like that that you can tell it’s a female, but you may not always see the full-face shot," says Marji. "I hope to show the beauty in the work that they do. That’s really what I look for."

Marji hopes that over time, her work will change perceptions of women in agriculture, and open up more resources for them.

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