This week, over 200 lady landowners and farmers gathered in Cape Girardeau for the 24th annual Women in Agriculture conference. Hosted by the Missouri Women in Agriculture organization, the event is held in a different region of the state each year, and southeast Missouri was selected to be highlighted for 2018.
Discussion focused around various “treasures” found in the region, including the Mark Twain National Forest, Current River, cotton and peanut farmland areas, and pastureland. Leslie Holt, a private land conservationist out of the Ozark region for the MDC, says this is her eighth time attending the conference, and she thinks it’s a great time to let others know that women work hard as an agricultural community.
“As a farmer, we all face challenges, but being a woman, usually you’re a mother, and a wife, and farming is a full-time job,” says Holt. “So if you’ve been raking all day, you come in, and you’ve still got to do dinner and clothes. But I do believe we have a support system now.”
Leslie Michael with the Natural Resources Conservation Service says out of 108 thousand farms in the state, only 32% are run by women. But as the farming generation ages, we could see an increasing number of women taking over farmland, and this conference can provide them with the resources and opportunities they need to do so.
Workshops were presented on a slew of topics, such as Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate, soil health, and “Missouri Grown” marketing.
The conference is expected to be held in the northeast region of the state next year.