Pitch In and Help!


Many people have visions of Rosie the Riveter; the iconic image of a woman who worked in U.S. factories during World War II in order to help build the weapons that won the war. What many don't realize is that women also contributed to the U.S. war effort in America's farm fields and on America's ranches, too.

According to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, between April 1940 and July 1942 2+ million men left farm work. By the end of the war that number was over 6 million. The impact of the exit of men from America's farm fields and ranches was so dramatic that in 1942 some crops withered in fields with no one to pick them—just as the nation’s need for food was peaking to feed American troops but also to help its European allies devastated by war.

That's when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crop Corps was created. And as part of the USDA's effort was something called the Women's Land Army (WLA). Women in the WLA were integral to keeping America's agricultural machine moving and feeding men overseas during the war.

Above is a poster that was created in 1943 to help recruit women from the city to help fight World War II by working on America's Farm. It comes from the USDA's National Agricultural Library.