• Sachs, Carolyn Elizabeth (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


New and beginning farmers face challenges related to lack of farm background, experience, and training/skill development opportunities that match their needs; they further lack access to land, capital, and credit needed for successful farming. Our research and outreach experiences with women farmers indicate that they perceive similar technical and social barriers to success in their farm businesses. Further, women report problems related to isolation from other farmers, isolation from needed information and educational networks, and discrimination in traditional agricultural circles. The combination of these concerns creates significant barriers to success for new and beginning women farmers. Despite these barriers, women constitute the fastest growing demographic in farming. The number of female principal operators in the U.S. increased almost 30 percent between 2002 and 2007. Because of the barriers encountered by women farmers, they demonstrate special interest in attending educational events led by women. In our research, women report that they appreciate learning basic farming skills, especially typically masculine skills, from other women. Women farmers seek educational activities that involve exchanges of ideas with each other; many express displeasure with presentations delivered by experts that inhibit interaction and communication. Networks of women farmers provide on-going opportunities to build trust, share information, and improve farm success. We expect that 300 new and beginning farmers will attend our educational events and workshops each year. We expect that at least 85% of those who attend educational events will increase their knowledge, skills and attitudes and 50% will adopt changes in their business, production, or environmental stewardship. We expect 25% of farmers attending educational events to use the new online resource. In addition, we expect 20 farmers who do not attend on-farm educational events to use the nine online modules in each of three tracks across the three years. We anticipate that 85% of the 540 will increase their knowledge, skills and attitudes and 50% will adopt changes in their business, production, or environmental stewardship practices. We will increase the capacity of regional representatives to develop mentoring networks. At least 100 new and beginning farmers will participate in either a regional or county potluck by the end of the project. At least 75% of new and beginning farmers who attend either a county or regional potluck will report increased relationships that provided key business, technical, and social support. We will sustain the project beyond the funding by obtaining both internal and external sources of support. The PA-WAgN steering committee, regional representatives, and new county representatives will commit to the network and will continue to recruit new and beginning farmers to events and activities.

Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/12


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $572,178.00


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