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Conference Name Tips and Practices for Starting and Maintaining an Annual Women in Agriculture Conference

Daisy Bailey, Jodi Richmond, Brandy Brabham, Doolarie Singh-Knights, Karen Coxs, Stacey Huffman, Alexandria Straight, and Jennifer Williams


The percentage of farms in WV operated by women is increasing. Women farmers help preserve small farms, improve local food systems, and enhance rural economic and social development. They face issues of limited acreage, market access, dwindling farm income, and gender disadvantages in traditional male-dominated environments. These women also struggle to find focused guidance, technical assistance, relevant resources and on-going support relative to their farming/business needs.

In addition to our Annie’s Project curriculum, the WVU Extension Service began offering a state Women in Agriculture Conference in 2014. 250 women participated in the two day event which featured four education tracks—livestock, horticulture, finances and farm niches, and sixteen educational sessions. Farm field trips also showcased a variety of WV agricultural enterprises. This conference gave female agriprenures an environment that was conducive to networking and learning from each other as well as the structured classes where attendants gained knowledge. The conference has rotated throughout the state annually since its inception and has expanded to include additional educational tracts as well as both horticulture and livestock tour options.
The holistic risk management education strategy in WV has been very successful. In this presentation, we discuss successes and challenges of beginning and expanding this type of conference. Data will be included from pre- and post-evaluations and other surveys of relevant programs where we examined farming goals and expectations; change in risk-management knowledge, skills and attitudes; and risk management strategy implementation. We will conclude by offering tips and suggestions for implementing your own conference.