Farming is never a one-woman job – it takes a village to run a successful operation. National Farmers Union’s Women’s Conference on January 19-21, 2020 will not only prepare attendees for success in agriculture, but it will also connect them with a network of other women farmers and ranchers to reach out to throughout the year.
Consistently low commodity prices, chronic overproduction, a rapidly changing climate, and trade uncertainty, it’s a difficult time to be a farmer – but women farmers face a whole host of unique challenges all their own.
Between difficulty finding appropriately sized tools and machinery, being excluded from succession planning, sexism from other farmers, discrimination from lenders and government agencies, health risks associated with pregnancy, and child care responsibilities, these gender-specific issues aren’t often addressed in agricultural education programs that are often aimed at the 64 percent of American farmers who are men.
Technical skills aren’t the only thing a farmer needs to run a successful farm business – she also needs the help and support of her community from time to time. Yet due to the gender imbalance in the industry, that community may not be physically present. Instead, many women farmers connect with friends and mentors from across the country at conferences and conventions and stay in touch via phone, email, and social media.
National Farmers Union (NFU) was an early supporter of women’s suffrage and has been working to overcome this gender disparity throughout its 117-year existence. The general farm organization has offered women-focused educational programming for many decades to prioritize the specific needs and interests of women farmers.
From January 19-21, NFU will continue its ongoing effort to promote greater gender equity and community building in farming at its annual Women’s Conference in San Diego, California. Farmers, policy makers, educations, and specialists will share insights on many of the obstacles that women in agriculture regularly confront and will provide practical information on farm business planning, accessing capital, hiring farm labor, and leadership skills. During networking events, attendees will also have the opportunity to make lasting connections with other women in agriculture.
Women looking to build their farm business skills and gain a network of fellow women farmers and ranchers can learn more about NFU’s Women’s Conference and register online at nfu.org.