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Women in Agriculture

WVU Extension is growing an inclusive network of empowered women who can skillfully manage finances, production and technology for their farms.

Annie's Project

West Virginia Annie’s Project program fosters problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills in women in agriculture, to help them build sustainable, viable and profitable agribusinesses.

Doolarie Singh-Knights 

Female peach grower holding peaches in front of tree. 2021 West Virginia Women in Agriculture Conference

The annual West Virginia Women in Agriculture Conference provides research-based and practical educational opportunities for agribusiness women while fostering networking and leadership development. Workshops focus on the five areas of risk management and production enterprises. Farm tours highlight successful operations and provide opportunities for participants to learn from other’s experiences. The conference rotates annually to demonstrate the diversity of agricultural enterprises throughout West Virginia.

We're Going Virtual!

Our next Women in Agriculture Conference, which was originally scheduled for October 22-23, 2021, will now be hosted virtually on November 8-10, 2021. But, don't worry - there are still plenty of opportunities to learn and engage with other female agriculturists around the state! 

Registration is now open! 

View the Virtual Conference Agenda
Register for the Virtual Conference Now

Registration cost: $30 

Plus, the first 100 registrants will receive a FREE T-shirt! 

If connectivity is a concern, reach out to your local WVU Extension office to learn more about potential local viewing options

Women in Agriculture Newsletter

Mid-Ohio Valley Fall 2021 Beef Quality Assurance Trainings

The fall 2021 WVU Extension Service BQA trainings will focus on topics including:

Register for 2021 Pasture Management Certificate Training

The Pasture Management Certificate Training is offered as part of Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Agricultural Innovation Workforce Trainings & Certifications. 

Instructed by Kevin Shaffer, Ed Rayburn and Ben Goff from WVU Extension, this certification will teach farmers how they can improve sustainability to their operation by improving their pasture management so there is more available forage year-round. 

Making Quality Hay - Mountaineer FarmTalk

Join us and our special guests every Friday at 10 a.m., for Mountaineer Farm Talk! Learn, share, laugh and enjoy a cup of cowboy coffee (or herbal tea for non-coffee drinkers). We encourage audience participation so have your questions ready.
Meeting ID: 989 9130 7779O or call  888-475-4499 and 877-853-5257 US Toll-free.

Small Ruminant Production Webinar Series

Join WVU Extension and industry experts for an educational series on small ruminant production in West Virginia! 

Guard Dog Management in Small Ruminant Production

Farmers Market Training Series

Join WVU Extension Service agents and specialists for a spring webinar series to get ready for the 2021 farmers market season! 

Register for Introduction to Growing Industrial Hemp Fiber and Grain Webinar

WVU Extension Service has teamed up with University of Maryland and Penn State Extension  to provide a webinar on the production of hemp for fiber and seed production. 

The webinar presentation will be available on three different dates to allow participants with ample opportunity to join: March 15 at 10 a.m., March 22 at 1 p.m. and March 29 at 7 p.m. 

Register for Rural Resiliency Webinar Series on Managing Stress

You're invited to join us for a four-week webinar series to learn more about how to manage the day-to-day stress of rural life. 

Rural Resiliency: Caring for You and Yours

Fridays at the Library Gardening Webinar Series

Over the last year, we've seen a renewed interest in gardening! Veteran and beginner gardeners alike have been growing vegetables and fruits in traditional gardens, raised beds and containers across America.

In hopes of keeping that gardening momentum going, our Wood County office will again be hosting its educational gardening series, Fridays at the Library! The series is celebrating its seventh year, but like many programs, it will be held virtually this year. All gardening enthusiasts, experts and beginners are welcome.

2021 Spring Lunch & Learn Garden Series

You're invited to join us for a fun webinar series where you'll learn everything you need to know about getting your garden ready for the season! You'll have the opportunity to learn from a variety of WVU Extension Service agents and specialists each week.

Online Pesticide Recertification Training Opportunities

Online Pesticide Recertification Training videos are now available through our WVU Extension Service Online Learning Community .

Due to the video nature of these programs, quality internet is highly recommended. If this is an issue for you, please reach out to Karen Cox for assistance. 

2021 Agriculture Educational Webinar Series

Each winter, WVU Extension Service brings education, know-how and research right to your community through a series of educational dinner meetings. Though we couldn’t gather in person this year, those across West Virginia joined us virtually for the 2021 agriculture webinar series!

Participants had the same opportunity to learn from WVU Extension Service specialists and industry experts about relevant topics to help you improve your own agricultural operations.

Mid-Ohio Valley Farm Producers Invited to AgZoom Webinars

West Virginia producers, gardeners and service providers are invited to join other Mid-Ohio Valley producers for  AgZoom Thursdays at 6 p.m. This series uses a virtual platform known as Zoom to deliver educational content for producers and pesticide applicator credits as well as other continuing education credits (CEUs). 

The schedule, speakers and topics are as follows:

Tri-state agritourism bus tour to visit West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio

WVU Extension Service, Northeast SARE and the West Virginia Agritourism Initiative have partnered to bring you the West Virginia Agritourism Classroom on Wheels bus tour. Join us on a tour through West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky to learn about best practices in agritourism and direct marketing.

This tour is for aspiring, beginning and mid-level agritourism and farm-based education operators. The stops on this tour will give you a first-hand perspective of how successful operations combine agriculture, education, entertainment and economics on their operations to improve their profitability and cash flow positions. 

Food Grower, Processor Training

The course is for growers and processors who manufacture, process, pack, hold, or import human foods and would like to understand and establish a Recall Plan. This is an integral of food safety compliance. Learn the difference between traceability and a recall plan. Participants will learn about recall definitions, establishing a recall team, recall plan elements, communication, working with regulators, handling returned product, and more. Participants will also receive a recall plan template.

This is a two-day course on July 8 and 9, 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Get online directions to the Bridgeport Conference Center at 300 Conference Way, Bridgeport WV, 26330.

Animal Health Division Bulletin to Sheep & Goat Industry Stakeholders

In February 2019, all states were notified that the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services is changing the Scrapie tag protocol for sheep and goat producers.

2019 Agriculture Educational Dinner Meetings Announced!

West Virginia Farm Resources

Farming and agribusiness are deeply rooted in our West Virginia communities. In addition to the services and resources provided by WVU Extension Service, there are a number of organizations and resources to help grow, expand and assist your business.

Women in Ag Briefings

WVU Extension Service is proud to support our farmers and agribusiness owners through education, outreach and face-to-face interaction. Through partnerships and collaboration, we offer courses, training and other information to help you and your business be successful, while staying up to date on the latest policy and business news for the agricultural community.

Food safety is serious business - Food safety training team can help

Food safety is serious business. And while growers are responding to consumer demand for more local, distinct foods, the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) is going to be a game changer in terms of how we will be growing produce in West Virginia. The FSMA puts greater emphasis on preventing food-borne illness from farm to table. The reasoning is simple: the better the food system handles producing, processing, transporting and preparing foods, the safer our food supply will be. With an average of 48 million (one in six Americans) getting sick, and 3,000 Americans dying from food-borne diseases annually, the FDA is clear about one thing - to keep consumers safe, the food industry needs to shift its focus from reactive to preventive. Every year, 12.3 percent of all food safety outbreaks are traced to fresh produce, and two percent are traced to practices on farms – that’s 960,000 illnesses per year traced to on-farm practices or conditions (

Understanding the difference between GAPs certification and the PSR will be essential for growers. Simply put, GAPs are a voluntary food safety program driven by buyers’ requirements, whereas the PSR is law. The FSMA’s PSR establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption, which some produce growers must adhere to. The PSR does not require a food safety plan, while GAPs certification does. Even if a farm is FSMA compliant, chances are a buyer maintaining higher food safety standards will require farms to have a third-party GAPs certification in order to sell to them. Buyers strictly define their requirements, so it is best to identify the buyer and know what their standards are before undergoing a GAPs audit. Contact Dee Singh-Knights for additional documentation regarding this topic.

Growing agritourism and farm-based education in West Virginia

By: Dee Singh-Knights, Ph.D., WVU Extension Specialist – Agribusiness Economics and Management, West Virginia University Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources

More and more producers, especially women, are recognizing the opportunities inherent in agritourism and farm-based education. They see it as an extended growing season, where visitors yearning for fresh recreational, educational and social experiences, are ripe for the picking.

Risky business: Tips for controlling your financial risks

By: Alexandria Smith, WVU Extension Agent, Hampshire and Hardy counties

Farming is a risky business. We hear it over and over again when talking to our peers about our plans to farm.

Preparing for early garden production

By: Brandy Brabham, WVU Roane County Extension Agent

The last month provided a lot of temperature extremes. While plans for the 2018 garden season should be taking shape by now, a good production risk management strategy is to consult notes from last year as a starting point. What areas were planted with what plant families and varieties and what areas should be rotated to a different crop this year? If this is a first year for production or notes are incomplete, plan organization strategies to make this year’s records provide the detail needed for next year’s planting.

Minimize legal risk to you and your farm

By: Emily Wells Morrow, WVU Extension Agent, Jefferson County

When you run a small farm, business structure is usually the last thing on your mind. Is it even worth bothering with all the extra paperwork and hassle to set up anything other than a sole proprietorship? In short, the answer is yes.

Women in Ag Facts

According to the Census of Agriculture, published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service in 2017, here are facts about women farmers in West Virginia that may surprise you.

An outline of a woman

35.2% of WV farms

35.2% of West Virginia farms are operated by women.

An outline of the State of West Virginia

Farm 1,042,313 acres

Women farmers operate 1,042,313 acres in West Virginia.

An outline of a barn

Average size 125 acres

The average farm size primarily operated by a woman in West Virginia is 125 acres.

West Virginia women farmers sold more than $202 million in products in 2017.

An outline of produce in a basket

$51M in crops

Crop sales totaled $51 million in 2017 for West Virginia women farmers.

An outline of livestock

$151M in livestock

Livestock sales totaled $151 million in 2017 for West Virginia women farmers.

An outline of a money bag

$24,360 per farm

Average sales totaled $24,360 per farm for West Virginia women farmers in 2017.

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service