ST. PAUL (Sept. 4, 2013) — The number of women getting involved in agriculture continues to grow, and efforts are under way across the region to help them achieve success.
During the past decade, said Kim Preston, a research assistant for the Center for Rural Affairs, there’s been a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of farms run by women. As with all newcomers to agriculture, she said, the learning curve can be steep.
“Nearly half of the farmland in the Midwest is currently owned or operated by women, and they don’t necessarily have access to all of the resources that are available, or they don’t know what the resources are available to them,” she said. “They’re kind of left in the dark about these kinds of things.”
The Center for Rural Affairs is among the groups working to connect women with those resources. More information is online on its website at www.cfra.org.
Preston said new farmers and ranchers often need information about state and national programs as they set goals for such issues as land stewardship.
“Conservation practices, what they can be doing with their land; how they can work with their tenants, basically to improve their soil and water quality,” she said, “and different types of conservation things that they can start doing to their ground, or continue doing to their ground.”
Nationally, it’s estimated that women run more than 300,000 farms.