National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today thanked the growing number of women in agriculture – now roughly one million strong and responsible for a $12.9 billion dollar economic impact – for their invaluable contributions to family farming and ranching and noted that their growing presence in farming is vital to the nation’s food security.
“One of the many promising trends in agriculture is the growing presence of women who are using their talents to help strengthen the viability of the family while also supplying food, feed, fuel and fiber to Americans and consumers abroad,” said Johnson. “And their growing presence in agri-business board rooms and as chief operators on family farms is important to the nation’s food security,” he said.
Johnson noted that women have played key roles in Farmers Union since its founding at the turn of the century, having been elected to key leadership roles in the organization’s early years while also representing a significant portion of the 200,000 NFU members nationwide. “Nationally, women make up 30 percent of farmers, and this is reflected within our ranks as a significant and growing proportion of our total membership comes from female farmers,” he said.
Johnson noted that women farm over three hundred million acres in the United States and those farms are more likely to be enrolled in conservation programs. Many of these women have been drawn to Farmers Union because of the organization’s progressive stance on many issues important to them, including child nutrition, environmental stewardship and the historic fight for full voting rights for women. “For years, women have found a home in Farmers Union and their inclusion in both leadership and membership positions has ensured a more forward looking, balanced voice in family farming,” he added.
NFU continues to support women in agriculture and develop their leadership skills through the annual NFU Women’s Conference. The conference focuses on leadership development and risk management training for women. This year’s conference emphasizes building knowledge and skills related to farm transitions as well as advocacy training. There will be a number of workshops on topics ranging from estate planning to grassroots organizing. The event takes place from Jan. 23 to 27, 2016 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Registration will remain open until Jan. 15. Discounted early bird registration ends January 5.
The conference builds on NFU’s long track record in offering adult education specifically designed for women in agriculture and provides participants important business management and leadership skills. “Our annual women’s conference seeks to provide the business and farming tools women need to succeed in agriculture,” said Johnson, “while allowing these emerging leaders to network and fine-tune their business acumen.”