Austria’s farm women provide major impulses

milk production
Photo: BML / Martina Siebenhandl

Women farmers are a driving force for rural development. In order to ensure that this will continue, the Ministry of Agriculture is investing in agricultural education.

The Ministry of Agriculture invests in a targeted way in the field of agricultural education. Around 34 percent of female farmers have a Matura (national school-leaving exam entitling to University studies), University of Applied Sciences or University degree. The aim is to ensure a balanced gender ratio among pupils in higher agricultural and forestry schools in the future. Together with the Rural Further Education Institute (LFI) and the ARGE Österreichischer Bäuerinnen (Working Group of Austrian Female Farmers), numerous further training opportunities have been developed in order to strengthen the position of women in rural areas and to ensure an innovative agricultural sector.

Around 28,000 agricultural holdings are run by women in Austria. This corresponds to a share of 33 percent - a very high value in European comparison. Women are at the centre of family farms and are thus the pillars of the small-scale Austrian agriculture. They play a decisive role in ensuring that the quality and choice of food remains so exceptionally high and that the unique diversity of the cultivated landscape remains a trademark for tourism.

Forward-looking ideas

Women farmers are also important sources of impulses and ideas when it comes to social or economic commitment. Farm holidays, direct marketing, renewable energies, community services, school on the farm, female seminar farmers and green care: In all these areas, women farmers contribute with their innovations to keeping family farms broadly positioned and competitive. On farms with "Urlaub am Bauernhof" (farm holidays) offers, 82 percent of the main managers are female farmers, and 56 percent of direct marketing is also in female hands.