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Conference Name WV Women in Agriculture Conference 5-year Evaluation Reveals Risk Management Improvements

Emily Morrow, Brandy Brabham, Jodi Richmond, and Alexandria Smith


The West Virginia Women in Agriculture Conference is an annual conference with the goal of providing female farmers with educational and networking opportunities. Between 2014 and 2019, we have had nearly 1,000 participants at this two-day event. Participants tour local farms on Friday afternoon and spend Saturday attending educational sessions. The conference addresses risk management strategies around finance, production, and marketing. The farm tours offer a unique peer-to-peer learning opportunity by allowing participants to directly from other female farmers by seeing their farms.

Since West Virginia is a state diverse in terrain, geography, and agriculture enterprises, the conference moves locations each year. This allows more women the opportunity to attend when it is in their region and provides a greater variety in farm tours and speakers.

With a hiatus from the conference in 2020, the conference planning team developed a survey to gather data on how participants are implementing risk management strategies on their own farms. Participants were asked questions around how the risk management education provided through the conference allowed them to increase profits, reduce costs, add a new enterprise, or diversity existing livestock or horticulture operations.  
Nearly 70 percent have diversified their operation because of attending the conference, with 60 percent having made changes due to participating in the farm tours. It is clear we are making an impact for our farmers, and our program can serve as a model for other states to do the same.