The Mahaska County Farm Bureau developed in the second decade of the twentieth century as part of the statewide, grassroots effort to provide agricultural and homemaking science to Iowa farmers. Although originally part of the Iowa State University Cooperative Extension, the Farm Bureau separated from the extension service in 1955 and became the largest political and corporate organization representing farmer interests in Iowa. In 1920, Mrs. Ellsworth Richardson, an active Mahaska County Farm Bureau member, became chair of the county women's group. With the support of the Mahaska County Farm Bureau, she spearheaded the development of an independently organized, statewide women's Farm Bureau committee. She insisted that the women's chair have a seat and full voting privileges on the board of directors of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. Richardson was elected chair of the statewide women's committee in 1923. Since that time, women in the Mahaska County Farm Bureau have maintained their own local, county, district, and state committees. Farm Bureau women have actively engaged in promoting agriculture, safety, and nutrition in their communities. They actively lobby on political issues, provide leadership to local 4-H groups, and undertake a wide variety of civic and personal betterment projects. In the last two decades, Farm Bureau women have also joined the traditionally male Farm Bureau groups at the local, county and state level.