Today's women are becoming stronger leaders for family farm businesses, rural communities and natural resource conservation. More and more women are becoming involved in agriculture. The number of women enrolled in the Iowa State University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has seen a steady increase over 25 years and today, 49% of undergraduates are women. In both subtle and obvious ways, the changing roles of farm and ranch women are influencing American agriculture and global food security.
To tell the story of farm and ranch women's changing roles the new Women in Ag Learning Network is hosting a series of three webinars beginning on November 18. The free webinars focus on women's rural leadership roles, what the 2012 Census of Agriculture tells us about women and why women's unique roles in agriculture matter.
New national Women in Ag Learning Network introduced
The ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Agriculture Program is partnering with the University of Vermont Extension Women's Agriculture Network to lead the new national Women in Ag Learning Network. The network is part of the national eXtension initiative; an interactive learning environment delivering the best, research-based knowledge from the best land-grant university minds across America.
"We're excited to bring women across Iowa and the nation this new online learning network," says Madeline Schultz, Women in Agriculture program manager at Iowa State University.
The Women in Ag Learning Network will connect farm and ranch women to each other and to Extension experts from across the country to help them improve their quality of life. The national network will provide resources to help women make better business decisions while maintaining a balance with family and personal obligations. "The online learning network is a perfect complement to Extension's local Annie's Project courses," Schultz says. "In fact, this webinar series grew out of requests of participants in Annie's Project courses who wanted to know more about farm women's changing roles."
Krysta Harden, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture will lead off the webinar series.
Website launched for Women In Ag Learning Network
The three-part webinar series coincides with the launch of the Women in Ag Learning Network website this month. The webinars include nationally recognized speakers as well as women whose livelihoods depend on farming and ranching.
Krysta Harden, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, will lead off the webinar series. As USDA's third female deputy secretary, Harden is interested in building a strong and diverse future for women in agriculture. Other guest speakers include Angela Carter, Iowa State University PhD candidate in sociology and sustainable agriculture and women in ag researcher; Kate Danner, Iowa State University graduate and vice-President of Longley Farms in Illinois and; and Sara Shepherd, Waldorf College graduate, Annie's Project participant and owner of Shepherd Farms in Iowa.
Webinar dates and topics
• Nov. 18 - Leading the Way: How Women are Changing Board Rooms and Rural Landscapes
• Dec. 2 - By the Numbers: What the Census of Ag Tells us About Women Operators
• Dec. 16 - Heart of the Farm: Why Women's Unique Family and Farm Business Roles Matter.
For instructions on how to join the webinars go to learn.extension.org. To visit the Women in Ag Learning Network website, go to www.extension.org/womeninag. The CHS Foundation provides support for the Women in Ag Learning Network.