Women in Agriculture Toolkit

This Toolkit contains resources in the following categories. Note: Some resources appear in multiple categories.

Do you have a resource to add to this Toolkit? Please contact us!

Growth of Women Farmers

Resources documenting the growth of women farmers across the US and the emerging networks supporting them.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service | Type: Reference
Reports the tripled number of women-operated farms in the US in the last 30 years, including analysis on age, education, financial performance, and trends in farmland size and tenure.

Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service | Type: Reference
Statistical overview of the growing presence of women in agriculture between the 2002 and 2007 agricultural census.

Source: Grist | Type: Reference
Article discussing the rapid growth of women farmers and the emerging networks fostering online and offline communication, skill-based education and a strong sense of community.

Source: National Public Radio | Type: Reference
Audio story about the journey of a farmer’s daughter who took over 500 acres of inherited land, and the obstacles she faced in the process. (4:32)

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Women in Agriculture Networks

Networking opportunities for women farmers across the US, including farmer training programs, classes, technical assistance workshops, mentorships and webinars.

Type: Reference
Workshops, farm tours, conferences and other collaborative programs for women starting farms and food-based businesses, including the In Her Boots workshop series covering value-added enterprises, land stewardship, risk management, and family and children. Based in Wisconsin.

Type: Reference
Online and in-person workshops, classes and webinars for women farmers of all skill levels, and a scholarship fund for those just starting out. Based in Vermont.

Type: Reference
A chapter-based network focused on building connections between women farmers and their local communities in California, improving the public image of farmers through communication and PR campaigns, and agricultural legislation initiatives.

Type: Reference
Offers a range of classes and webinars, an on-farm apprenticeship/mentorship program, and opportunities for women to get involved with community, state and federal sustainable agriculture initiatives. Based in Iowa.

Type: Reference
In-person classes in 34 states for women farmers interested in problem solving, record keeping, decision-making, business, and estate, retirement and succession planning.

Type: Reference
A website of diverse resources for women farmers, including links to US sustainable agriculture organizations, varied literature, and a blog discussing current events, policy, and family and farm life.

Source: Oregon State University | Type: Reference
An example state-wide program in Oregon offering women on-farm workshops and demos, in-person networking events, and skill-sharing; includes the League of Women Farmers (Southern OR), Willamette Women’s Farm Network (Central & Southern Willamette Valley), and the Women in Agriculture WAggies network (Northern Willamette Valley/Portland).

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Funding Opportunities

Federal grant and loan assistance programs for women farmers.

This list is primarily based on the larger, more popular national loan programs; however, we recommend you also explore other funding sources, such as community banks and credit unions in your area, for women in agriculture lending opportunities.

Source: FarmsReach | Type: Info Sheet
Basics for those who have never considered or successfully applied for a farm loan: lender relationships, alternative funding sources, utilizing a good financial record, and doing your homework.

Source: FarmsReach | Type: Info Sheet
Full transcript from the workshop at the 2014 CA Small Farm Conference, where the three main farm microloan funds in CA (FSA, CA FarmLink and KivaZip) shared the in's and out's of accessing their funding, and two farmers who recently received microloans shared their experience and advice for other farmers.

Source: Farm Service Agency | Type: Reference
Loans and technical assistance, up to $250K, for minorities and women to buy and operate a farm or ranch, improve farm management practices, analyze farm problems and plan the best use of farm resources.

Source: National Institute of Food & Agriculture | Type: Reference
A cost-share grant program, up to $300K, for women- and minority-led projects that support the increased consumption of healthy food, the expansion of value-added products, and the economic viability of small-scale farms and rural businesses.

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Further Reading

Stories of farm life, women leaders in agriculture, gender roles on the farm, and the current transformation of our food system.

Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat
Source: Temra Costa | Type: Reference
Stories of women leaders working to change our food system through farming, education, advocacy, and food-related businesses. Order a hardcopy.

Farms with a Future
Source: Rebecca Thistlewaite | Type: Reference
Chronicles the year-long journey of the author and her husband to dozens of farms (many of them women-owned and operated) across the US, including the inspiration, practical knowledge, and expert wisdom they gained along the way. Order a hardcopy.

Sharing the Harvest
Source: Elizabeth Henderson & Robyn Van En | Type: Reference
Guide to starting a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program that’s economically viable and manageable, including discussion of gender roles in farm labor and management. Order a hardcopy.

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