Women in Agriculture
WVU Extension Service is growing an inclusive network of empowered women who can skillfully manage finances, production and technology for their farms.
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.
Oglebay Resort and Conference Center
WVU Extension’s Women in Agriculture is proud to support this statewide conference to promote leadership development, and provide production and marketing education for agricultural producers and service providers. Save the date and join us in Wheeling for this great event! Look for more information coming in summer 2018.
Women in Agriculture Newsletter
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.
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. 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 (Family.farmed.org).
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.
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.
By: Alexandria Straight, 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.
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.
By: Emily Wells, Agriculture 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.