; Battle of the Sexes: Unique Programming Needs and Challenges of Women Farmers | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Battle of the Sexes: Unique Programming Needs and Challenges of Women Farmers

Jennifer Blazek and Katie Wantoch


Women producing specialty and value-added products are a rapidly growing segment of the agriculture industry across the country and particularly in Wisconsin. The background of women principal operators is significantly different from the general population with a higher percentage of beginning farmers and small acreage farms. These smaller farms are more likely to rely on alternative markets including specialty crops and varieties, value-added products, and market diversification techniques including fresh market and direct sales.
To target this growing population, Annie’s Project for Beginning and Value-Added Women Farmers was developed and held in Northwestern Wisconsin over six weeks during the beginning of 2013. Five areas of risk management for value-added enterprises were covered over the six sessions: production, market, financial, personal, and legal. Topics included: personality traits, business plan development, market research, financing opportunities, financial statements, food regulations and safe food handling, business entities and tax information.
This presentation will focus on the obstacles, barriers and opportunities for women farmers that are involved or may be interested in specialty and value-added agriculture. Discussion during the presentation will cover Extension’s role in outreach to this population and understanding their diverse and unique needs, compared to their male counterparts. Participants from the program were asked to complete a series of three evaluations during the workshops to track any changes implemented in their operations as a result of the workshops. Also, the knowledge gained by participants and the usefulness of the topics to their individual enterprises was recorded and will be presented.