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Conference Name Heart of the Farm - Women in Agriculture Conference Series

Jenny Vanderlin


The Heart of the Farm Conference Series empowers Wisconsin Farm women in production, price, financial, legal and human areas of risk management education. The Heart of the Farm Conferences brings women together in a professional setting and increases their knowledge and competence in farm business management skills and production. These conferences are a vehicle to decrease the social isolation experienced by many farm women by providing opportunities to network with their counterparts. The Heart of the Farm Conferences allow Wisconsin farm women to become better equipped to make decisions which will increase their profitability and improve their life-styles. In the fiscal year 2005-06 there were 6 workshops held throughout the state.

Wisconsin has 76,500 (WI Agriculture Statistics, 2005). Of these farms 7,200 have females as the primary operator. In addition, when you broaden the scope or definition to include farms that identified more than one operator this total number changes to approximately 33,000 women who are operators with their partner. These women contribute a large percentage of the labor and management to the farm operation. In evaluations from Heart of the Farm Wisconsin farm women share in many of the decisions for the farm business, including long term planning and farm investment decisions. In Wisconsin, opportunities for education on farm management and general production practices for women have been limited to non-existent. Previous Heart of the Farm participants identified the most important factors that drive their decisions to attend a farm educational workshops. These were: relevance to their farm business, knowing there will be other women in attendance, and that it held in a location or city with which they are familiar (in that order).