Videos from the July 2015 Women in Farming Workshop, in Emporia, Kansas.
In August 2014, the Kansas Rural Center was awarded a USDA Risk Management Agency Education Grant to provide women farmers and women landowners information necessary to reduce or avoid financial, legal and production risks on their farms.
Women farmers and women landowners will control an increasing amount of farmland and farms in the coming decades, as women tend to live longer than men, and thus widows and daughters inherit farms and the decision making responsibilities that go with them.
Interest among women in actively farming is rising. Surveys of women in Kansas during our Women and Conservation Project in 2013 showed that current educational services and opportunities are not meeting the needs of these women. Research has also shown that women learn differently than men, responding positively to a participatory approach over typical classroom lectures, and to a women only format.
In 2015, the KRC project provided four full-day regional workshops for women-only in different locations across the state. Each workshop had a unique focus.
A Business, Legal and Financial Risk Management workshop covered basic estate planning needs, land tenant and leasing options, and basic financial record keeping. It also included a session on state and federal conservation programs and a short tour of farming practices such as cover crops and no-till to build soil health.
Two workshops– one in eastern Kansas and the other in northwest Kansas– focused on Specialty Crop and Polytunnel Production, emphasizing food production, food safety and handling, and conservation programs; plus a visit to a farm using high tunnels or polytunnels for fruit and vegetable production.
The final workshop in the series focused on Soil Health, Cover Crops and Integrated Crop and Livestock Farming with presentations on building soil health, organic farming practices, cover crops, and integrating crops and livestock into the operation. It also feature a tour of a local farm and alternative enterprises, and a pre-workshop roundtable discussion and social hour.
Each workshop included information and materials on the new crop insurance options for fruit and vegetable farms or whole farm revenue insurance.
All of the workshops highlighted the opportunities and the challenges for women as they implement new enterprises on existing farms, begin farming, or take over family operations, or just try to adopt new practices and enterprises with their families. Resources and information for helping to overcome these challenges were made available.