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Group is 1,000 females strong
The subject of women in agriculture is a dear one to Linda Stewart Moist. She is senior extension associate for the Pennsylvania Women's Agriculture Network and her job is to support women in agriculture.
Operated through the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, PA-WAgN is 1,000 females strong, most in Pennsylvania.
"We have farmer reps in all the extension regions around the state. Those women tell us what they want to have as far as programming," says Ms. Moist.
The range of professions practiced by members runs from students to women employed by agribusiness to women farmers.
"Women have traditionally been an underserved audience. Women have always been involved in farms and doing farming, but they were not necessarily recognized," says Ms. Moist, quoting data compiled by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service showing that between 2002 and 2007, the number of women farm operators increased by 41 percent.
Many have started community-supported-agriculture farms, in which customers buy a share of the yield. "CSA is enticing because it allows you to start a small business without a lot of money up front."
PA-WAgN will hold a seminar, "Multiple Approaches to Community Supported Agriculture," from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 2, beginning at Blackberry Meadows Farm in Natrona Heights and concluding at Mildreds' Daughters Farm in Stanton Heights. Cost: $15, including lunch and materials. For more information, go to wagn.cas.psu.edu.
-- Margi Shrum