Pigs, cattle, and corn. According to Chris Soules, the current Bachelor on season 19 of ABC’s reality TV dating series, that’s all Iowa has to offer. Women simply don’t exist.
While the charming 33-year-old is passionate about his farm in Arlington, Iowa, he believes that he will not be able to find a suitable wife in his area, simply because no women live or want to live there. Now that Soules’ position as the reigning Bachelor has dropped a pile of potential spouses in his lap, he worries that these sophisticated city girls will not want to live on a farm in rural Iowa.
In Soules’ most recent blog, he shared some of these concerns: “I’ve always been insecure about where I’m from, and the lifestyle I would provide to my future wife because – let’s face it – I live on a farm, it’s not glamorous.”
Hearing Soules repeatedly say he has no prospects for finding a wife locally pricks me just a little bit. His cynical, almost self-disparaging outlook disappoints me because I know that these statements are not entirely true. I happen to be living proof that this demographic does exist.
On one hand, Soules has a point. There really aren’t many young women in his hometown. Check out this piece that investigates the stats on Arlington, IA: How Many Women Are in Iowa?
Plus, few urban women dream of living in a place that they view as isolated, smelly, dirty, and boring. But Soules is also overlooking the women who DID grow up on farms and who DO enjoy and understand agriculture. I personally know dozens of young ladies who fall into this demographic. Believe it or not, Iowa is teeming with intelligent, industrious, and beautiful young farm women.
Want some proof? This website features the bios and personal blogs of a dozen Iowa women who live, work, and raise their families on the farm: CommonGround Iowa
I believe that young mens’ frustration with finding farm girls to marry is analogous to the problem of food scarcity– the root of the problem lies in the distribution, not the supply. There are plenty of farm girls to go around. That’s not the issue. The issue is finding them.
Trace the FFA jackets and 4-H t-shirts beyond high school, and one will see the “cream of the crop” heading off to college, where these girls often meet their husbands. That automatically narrows the choices for farm boys who don’t go to college. College graduates are even more difficult to lasso. Rather than moving back home, these career-oriented ladies, if single, often move out-of-state, or wherever their budding career takes them. Farm boys can’t exactly stuff their land and livestock in a suitcase and move with them.
What’s the solution to this problem? Next week I’ll discuss this further. This is topic I feel passionate about, so I have decided to make it a 2-part blog. Readers, feel free to comment any ideas you might have! I am trying to make connections within the farming community with this blog, and your input is always welcome.