; Providing Women Agriculture Producers with the Tools to Manage Risk | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Providing Women Agriculture Producers with the Tools to Manage Risk

Margaret Viebrock


Women producers face unique challenges with the demands of both farm and family. Equally important is the challenge to take care of themselves and potentially extended family.

Women farmers have emerged as an important segment of the agriculture community. Washington State agriculture census show female farm operators increased 44% from 5632 in 2002 to 8090 in 2007. Women manage 882,000 acres and sell more than $184,000,000 annually in farm products. Ninety- eight percent of women-owned farms have less than $250,000 in sales. Despite this dramatic increase, women producers continue to be underserved. They are not comfortable in traditional male-dominated producer meetings.

This presentation illustrates the success of designing educational opportunities to meet women’s learning styles. When asked what they want to learn, how they want to learn and help shape delivery methods, locations and topics, they participate and behavior change happens.

State-wide webinars, combined with local speakers and producer panels continue to reach 500 or more women each year. Follow-up workshops in selected locations tailored to in-depth topics are popular. Website, electronic newsletters and social media keep women engaged.

In 2012, 265 evaluation responses indicated 200 committed to re-think their farm vision to meet financial, marketing and production goals; 143 clarified their vision; 138 identified farming risks, acquired financial/marketing skills and purchased insurance. 125 women participated in follow-up workshops to study production costs, record keeping, hiring practices, time management and succession planning.

Reaching women producers requires a resource shift, fully engaged planning team and offering a variety of learning formats.