NEW PHILADEPLHIA, Ohio -- As more women take on leadership roles on the farm and look to strengthen their role in agribusiness, a conference offered by industry experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences seeks to provide female operators the opportunity to learn more about the resources available to help them to grow their agricultural operations.
The East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference on March 28 is targeted to women who are interested, involved, or want to become involved in food, agriculture, natural resources or small business, said Heather Neikirk, an Ohio State University Extension educator and co-organizer of the conference.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.
One goal of the day-long conference is to offer insight into issues pertinent to women in agriculture as well as other key concerns, she said.
“More women are becoming entrepreneurs, whether it be running a food-based business or coming into the industry from the production agriculture side," Neikirk said. "So our goal was to provide a venue where we could bring women in agriculture to the table and create an atmosphere conducive to networking with other women, sharing stories and securing resources.”
Today, more women are running farms and ranches, operating more land and producing more agricultural products, according to data from the 2007 Census of Agriculture report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the most recent data available). The share of U.S. farms operated by women nearly tripled over the past three decades, from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by 2007, according to USDA.
In Ohio, 9,127 women were reported as principal operators of farms in 2007, covering some 721,851 acres of land, the USDA census found.
“The conference can help women find balance and pick up new ideas,” Neikirk said. “This becomes really important for women as they continue to build their brand, improve their businesses and expand their opportunities.”
The conference is being held in partnership with OSU Extension and Kent State University’s Tuscarawas Small Business Development Center. The program is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Kent State’s Tuscarawas Science and Technology Building, 330 University Drive N.E., in New Philadelphia.
The conference will feature a keynote address by Peggy Hall, director of OSU Extension's Agricultural and Resource Law Program, who will give a talk, “How Well Do You Know Your Legal System?” The conference will also offer a session for young women in agriculture, Neikirk said.
Other topics to be discussed include:
- Farm Based Education
- Small Business Resources
- Direct Marketing Your Business
- Farm Transition
- Cottage Foods
- Ag Advocacy
- Mindfulness/Reducing Stress
- Farm Finance
- Small Scale Gardening
Registration for the workshop is $55 for adults and $30 for students and includes the program, handouts and lunch. An online registration form can be found at http://www.regonline.com/womeninageast. The deadline to register is March 14.
For more information, contact Neikirk at 330-830-7700, ext.116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.