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Gearing Up to Celebrate International Year of the Woman Farmer

USDA Foreign Ag Service — Did you know that women are responsible for roughly half of the world’s food production? The United Nations’ designation of 2026 as the International Year of the Woman Farmer gives the global community a chance to highlight that fact and celebrate the incredibly important role women play in ensuring global food security. At the same time, it’s an unprecedented opportunity to underscore – and to address – the myriad social and economic challenges that women in agriculture face worldwide.

We’re so proud of USDA’s role in leading U.S. government efforts to introduce and generate support for the resolution, which was cosponsored by 123 other nations and passed by the UN General Assembly in May. This marked the first time in history that the United States was the lead sponsor of an “international year” at the UN, demonstrating just how important the role of women in agriculture is to our department, our nation and the world.

USDA recently hosted a gathering of more than 200 partners and stakeholders on USDA’s Whitten Patio (along with another 800 who joined us online!) to celebrate the resolution’s passage and to begin networking and sharing ideas for how to make the 2026 observance of the International Year of the Woman Farmer a momentous and transformational one.

In addition to the many female agricultural leaders in attendance, we were joined onstage by Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, who also serves as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and Lauren Phillips, who serves as Deputy Director of Rural Transformation and Gender Equality at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. We’re grateful to them for sharing their insights and experiences and we’re also grateful that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield was able to join us via video to issue a call to action.

“The International Year of the Women Farmer offers governments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders the opportunity to better understand the challenges women face, help close the gender gap and get us closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said. “Together, let’s amplify the voices of women farmers and better understand their financial and technological needs. Let’s ensure access to credit markets, education and technology and build strong networks for mentorship and knowledge exchange. Let’s support changes in social norms that empower women farmers and implement policies that give them access and control over their land.”

We’re deeply grateful for the hard work women farmers do day in and day out to feed our nation and our world. As we continue along the road towards 2026, we encourage everyone to join our efforts to elevate and empower women in agriculture worldwide. You can learn more at www.usda.gov/iywf.

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