Focus on Farm Females

A special two-day event December 1 and 2 recognized the increasing role of women business leaders within the agricultural industry and the importance of safeguarding their permanence.

“Executive Women in Agriculture (EWA)” at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza in Downtown Chicago, was sponsored by Top Producer – a national, leading farm industry publication.

Engaging more than 100 females of all ages, EWA, was designed to share industry business strategies and insights to help attendants hone skills.
EWA sessions included information about:

  • Marketing Basics
  • Crop Insurance
  • Succession Planning
  • Human-Resource Management
  • Negotiating Techniques
  • Financial Management
  • Ag Advocacy
  • Networking

“As we transition to the next generation of women farm managers and owners, the need to educate women about farm business practices has never been greater,” stated EWA’s website.

Also according to the website, “In recent years, more women have returned to the farm in management roles and are keeping the farm. Of the 3.3 million U.S. farm operators, more than 30 percent (or more than 1 million) are women.”

Other related stats from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
  • Total number of women operators has increased 19 percent from 2002 (Outpacing the percent increase of farmers overall)
  • Women who were the principal operators in 2002 increased by almost 30 percent to 306,209 in 2010
  • States with the most female farm operators are:
    1. Arizona – 38.5 percent
    2. New Hampshire – 29.7 percent
    3. Massachusetts – 28.9 percent
    4. Maine – 25.1 percent
    5. Alaska – 24.5 percent

Understanding the influence of social media, the conference used the Twitter hashtag #ewa11 to generate online discussions, created a YouTube promotional video and also created a Facebook page to highlight its efforts.

One visitor to the EWA Facebook page posted, “Inspiring, empowering and top-notch women from 25 states!!!!!”

Women’s role in agriculture will only continue to increase. It’s important to continue to foster their outlets for growth to sustain and strengthen American farms. Examples of this include encouraging female teens to join their high-school FFA chapters, and making older women aware of support offerings such as federal grant funding and state agricultural extension services.

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