As documented in national agriculture statistics, the involvement of women in agriculture has been increasing. For the past four years, women from various walks of Kentucky’s agriculture life have organized statewide and promoted small agri-business practices, value-added marketing, risk-management, alternative agriculture opportunities, sustainable practices, and networking with government and educational agencies through four state level meetings. Women farmers, many of who represent small and limited resource farmers in Kentucky, are wanting to learn more about how important decisions and policies that affect their future are made.
This proposal outlines a public policy institute for building skills and expanding the efforts of a growing and significant group in Kentucky. It is this project’s aim to strengthen the state’s sustainable agriculture through policy and legislative avenues by preparing women in agriculture for new leadership roles. This will be accomplished by equipping them with the information and tools they need to express their views and concerns.
Through the network of women in agriculture, women’s organizations, and sustainable agriculture groups, this institute will provide information on how policy and legislative priorities are established, how to lobby on agriculture issues, what makes an effective public statement, and ways to work with the media to get the message out to the consumer as well as policy makers. Institute participants will then use these new tools and information to teach others how to make their voices heard—and make a difference for Kentucky’s sustainable agriculture future.
Kentucky Women in Agriculture, Inc., developed an education and leadership program that prepares its members and collaborators to advocate and promote sustainable agricultural and community development.
Preparing a group of women to serve as agricultural policy and legislative guides for women and other members of the Kentucky agriculture community;
Conducting an 8-hour educational institute for public policy education on agricultural policy development; and
Disseminating information gained throughout the project.
Participants’ activities include:
• Organizing activities to get tractor warning signs on local roads to warn other motorists of the potential for slow moving vehicles
• Working to get 4-H livestock project started in county program (currently only horse club activities or FFA)
• Serving on county green space committee to determine public views on local urban development
• Participating in local water resource ownership issues and providing strategic assistance to group
• Building relationships with local farmers to get them to participate in and use government programs that will support their farming operations
• Writing grants with regional tourism committee to develop economic plans
• Working with local elementary school to promote food to table programs
• Organizing steering committee for study of local food economy policy development
Project outputs include:
Public policy toolkit that was distributed to all Institute participants, KY Women in Ag organizational leaders; at natonal women in ag conference; and is available in printable form on organizational web site at: http://www.ca.uky.edu/fcs/kywomeninag/pdf/Women_In_Ag-Message_Packet.pdf
At the November 2006 Kentucky Women in Agriculture conference, Institute participants will conduct public policy roundtable and distribute toolkits to participants.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Public Policy Toolkit available in hardcopy from porject coordinator or at:
See section on Outcomes and Impacts
Women are seeking opportunities to gain confidence in addressing the needs of agricultural and economic interests in their communities. The toolkit is just one step in helping them move forward. More opportunities to develop writing skills for grants, press releases, and simple reports are needed. Additionally, confidence is gained through practice and experience. Creating safe environments to devise and test their talking points is needed. Extension educators need to continue to find ways to prepare women to accept challenges that address the future of sustainable agriculture development.