Williams County Extension Agents prove field, farm work is not gender-exclusive

By  | 

Williston, N.D. The world of agriculture has traditionally been an occupation dominated by men.

In fact, married women were forbidden from homesteading land in Dakota Territory.

Today, two women in Williams County are demonstrating field and farm work knows no gender.

Desire'e Steinberger and Danielle Steinhoff have been running the Williams County NDSU Extension Office for the last year.

"I think it's a good fit for me because I get to work with youth all the way up to older adults. I like to be able to deal with a gauntlet," says Steinberger.

Steinberger is the Family and Consumer Science Agent for the office.

"I do everything inside the home. I work with families, I teach babysitting classes, I work with homemakers," says Steinberger.

Steinhoff deals with farmers and ranchers.

"I take information from the research centers throughout the state, and I take that information and put it into an easier accessible product for the local farmers and ranchers," says Steinhoff.

For Steinberger, working with farmers comes naturally.

"I grew up on a farm, so gender roles to me aren't really traditionalist. I truly believe anyone can do anything they want," says Steinberger.

Steinhoff didn't come from a farm background but got involved in agriculture in high school.

"I think as a woman in the ag field, I love it. I love getting to meet the farmers and ranchers, and people have questions about their gardens that are kind of shocked to find out that it's now a female agent," says Steinhoff.

The women who work in the Williams County are now the norm.

"Throughout the state of North Dakota, most of the ag agents are female. There are not too many males entering this field out of college, and or the ones that were a male agent are getting close to retiring," says Steinhoff.

These two women are helping to break down gender stereotypes in agriculture in North Dakota.

Both Steinhoff and Steinberger say they are excited to continue to expand their respective programs.