Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Sarah Heiss

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Community Development and Applied Economics

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Title

Supporting Agricultural Growth: Social Networks and Resilience Among U.S. Women Farmers and Ranchers

Time

10:10 AM

Location

Chittenden Bank Room

Abstract

Women farmers and ranchers represent approximately 14% of principal farm operators and 30% of all farmers in the U.S. While women have much to offer to support the economic viability of communities and the sustainability of working landscapes, they are underrepresented and often undervalued in agricultural and food system contexts. This pilot project aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to support sustainable and resilient food systems by examining the communication factors related to women farmers and ranchers’ prevalence and performance in local food systems. Specifically, this project examines (i) how women farmers and ranchers develop formal and informal communication networks and (ii) how interactions within these networks contribute to women farmers and ranchers' ongoing resilience. Drawing on semi-structured interviews conducted in multiple states across the U.S., this study highlights the value of women farmers both to local food systems and to each other. This study’s findings will contribute to a set of recommendations for agricultural educators, nonprofits, and policy makers whose aim is to support women farmers and ranchers.

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Supporting Agricultural Growth: Social Networks and Resilience Among U.S. Women Farmers and Ranchers

Women farmers and ranchers represent approximately 14% of principal farm operators and 30% of all farmers in the U.S. While women have much to offer to support the economic viability of communities and the sustainability of working landscapes, they are underrepresented and often undervalued in agricultural and food system contexts. This pilot project aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to support sustainable and resilient food systems by examining the communication factors related to women farmers and ranchers’ prevalence and performance in local food systems. Specifically, this project examines (i) how women farmers and ranchers develop formal and informal communication networks and (ii) how interactions within these networks contribute to women farmers and ranchers' ongoing resilience. Drawing on semi-structured interviews conducted in multiple states across the U.S., this study highlights the value of women farmers both to local food systems and to each other. This study’s findings will contribute to a set of recommendations for agricultural educators, nonprofits, and policy makers whose aim is to support women farmers and ranchers.