Women always have been an integral part of agriculture. In recent years, their contributions have become more recognized. More state organizations and federal agencies are developing programs that target women in agriculture. Beginning in 2002, the USDA´s Census of Agriculture began recording how many women operated farms either as the principal operator or as a secondary operator. In the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the USDA found that women account for 30 percent of the total number of farm operators, which was up from 27 percent in 2002. Also, the percentage of women who were the principal operators of farms grew from 11 percent of all principal operators in 2002 to 14 percent in 2007.
West Virginia, following the national trend as more women assumed the role as principal farm operators,reported women accounted for 13.7 percent. The number of women operators in West Virginia went up from 7,671 in 2002 to 10,013 in 2007, over a 23 percent increase. The number of women as the principal operators of farms in West Virginia grew to a total of 3,219, an increase of over 27 percent. In West Virginia, as well as on a national basis, women are much more likely than their male counterparts to operate smaller farms (210 acres compared to 452 acres, on average) and farms described as "other livestock or crops." In light of these statistics, our poster will detail the programming efforts occurring in West Virginia for women in agriculture and explore areas for potential growth.
|2010 National Women in Agriculture Educators Conference