; Online Workshop to Empower Women Farmers | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Online Workshop to Empower Women Farmers

Robin Brumfield, Madeline DiNardo, A. Both, Joseph Heckman, Amy Rowe, and Richard VanVranken


Due to the pandemic, non-essential businesses in New Jersey were shut down by emergency orders for several months in 2020. However, farm markets were deemed essential services and saw increases in their customer base and sales by turning to online sales and contactless pickup. Since January 2020, consumer demand for grocery products in New Jersey increased by 23 percent. Employment rates among low-income workers (<$27K) dropped by 32 percent (Harvard University, 2021). 

Since New Jersey re-opened after the pandemic, the number one question farmers have is, “How can we turn the new customers we gained during the pandemic into permanent customers?” They also face supply chain challenges and thus shortages in essential input. Labor is often their biggest costs, and they are managing rising labor shortages and labor costs. 

To address these issues and to celebrate 10 years of Annie’s Project New Jersey, a program to teach women farmers risk management skills, we offered an evening workshop online. It was held on November 4 to celebrate and give women farmers information to help manage their farm risks through and post-pandemic from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Our keynote speaker answered the number one question farmers have been asking us, "How can farmers turn the new customers they got during the pandemic into permanent customers?” We also addressed recent direct marketing and agritourism issues. We held breakout sessions on the topics of succession planning, marketing, handling supply chain disruptions, and production. Finally, we had a panel of women farmers who discussed what worked and what they would change during the pandemic. The program was a success and was attended by 53 women.