University of Minnesota Extension’s Women in Agriculture Network connects farmers and agricultural professionals who cultivate some of Minnesota’s most important crops, livestock, and dairy products. It just happens that a growing number of these farmers are women.
As part of a collaboration that began in 2015 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, the network is building support around female farming. “Women represent a significant portion of Minnesota agriculture, and our opportunities for networking help female producers and agricultural professionals connect,” said Megan Roberts, who co-leads the program along with Sarah Schieck.
The network has recently focused on Central Minnesota, scheduling visits to several women-run farming and distribution operations between St. Cloud and Willmar. In 2017, tour participants met with Redhead Creamery owner Alise Sjostrom to learn about the business’s sustainable practices. Last summer, the group collaborated with Millner Heritage Winery to showcase how some University-developed grape hybrids are being used at the Kimball, Minnesota business.
“These events are allowing us to learn about farm-to-table businesses while fostering a sense of community among rural farmwomen and agriculture professionals,” said Roberts.