Jodi Graham works on a farm near Innisfail. She has been accepted into Olds College’s Animal Health Technology program and is pursuing a career in agriculture. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

Women choosing career in agriculture in growing numbers, Central Alberta no exception

Dana Stoyberg said she grew up with the best of both worlds, city living on the weekdays and farm life on the weekends.

The Red Deer native spent many weekends out on her family’s farm near Spruce View. But it wasn’t until college that she decided to make a career in agriculture.

“I never really thought agriculture was going to be part of my future,” said Stoyberg. “Then I got a volleyball scholarship offer to go to Olds College. I talked with my dad about what I was going to take and he suggested agriculture.

“That’s when I started to fall in love with the industry and the people in it.”

After earning her agriculture management diploma, she just finished her first year at the University of Alberta earning a degree in animal science.

She is part of a growing trend of women who are choosing a life and career in agriculture.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Agriculture Census, the percentage of women farm operators increased from 27.4 per cent in 2011 to 28.7 per cent in 2016.

Divided into age groups, women aged 35 to 54 are 30.7 per cent of farm operators, women over 55-years-old are 27.7 per cent and women under 35 are 26.4 per cent of farm operators.

Stoyberg hopes to pursue a future focused on livestock and is spending the summer working for Alberta Farm Animal Care in High River. She is a member of Ceres Alberta Women’s Fraternity at the university. The organization is comprised of women with an appreciation of agriculture.

“It’s a great industry to be a part of. It’s quite close knit when you get in deeper to it,” said Stoyberg.

Darlene Loomis and Jodi Graham were at the Invitational Plowing and Seeding farming demonstration near Joffre on Sunday. Both have chosen a career and life on the farm.

Loomis, who has a beef cattle, horse and grain farm near Caroline, she was raised on a farm and it has been an important part of her life.

She said being able to work outside is a big part of why she enjoys agriculture as a career. But, the big reason is family.

“It’s nice way to raise your family,” she said.

Graham, who’s farm raises draft horses near Innisfail, was recently accepted into the Olds College Animal Health Technology program. She likes that she can see and feel the product that she has worked so hard to create.

“It gives you something for your efforts,” said Graham.


Dana Stoyberg, of Red Deer, drives a tractor. She is one of many women choosing agriculture as a career, a growing trend in Canada.

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