Across the nation, as male farmers age and “buy the farm” as it were, their female counterparts are inheriting acres of valuable cropland. Many ladies are returning from careers away from the vegetable patch, adjusting their livelihoods to keep property in the family.
Growing food is a tricky business, and managing a large plot of soil can be a challenging endeavor. Traditionally, farm bureaus and other resources where women could go for information and advice have been male-dominated. Being a novice at anything can be intimidating, and asking questions in a room where you are an outsider both in experience and gender can make for awkward interactions. Understanding these situations, many female biologists, ecologists, and veteran farmers have initiated all-women collectives and groups for their fellow sisters to come and glean information. As of 2007, a full 14 per cent of the country’s farms were owned by women, and the numbers are growing.
Here in San Luis Obispo county, there are a number of resources for women in agriculture.
San Luis Obispo Farm County Bureau Women: Officially founded in 1923, the San Luis Obispo Farm County Bureau Women organization is open to female members of the Farm Bureau, friends, and invited members. Scholarships are available for landholders and their dependents are available and awarded based on academic achievement, educational goals, and financial necessity.
California Women for Agriculture: Located in Templeton, the San Luis Obispo chapter of California Women for Agriculture promotes the education and economic success of female farmers in the county through sales and agricultural tourism. They support outreach community programs that enhance consumer understanding of food production, speak on behalf of legislative initiatives, and provide information on food safety, trade, climate change, endangered species, labor policies, and biotechnology, and environmental health.
The San Luis Obispo County Cattle Women: With over 200 members, the San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen chapter is the largest in the United States. A small yearly membership fee keeps these representatives of the beef industry up to date on legislation as well as funding field trips for children, rodeos, and awards. Many open their property to schools and trail riders looking to learn about and enjoy the agricultural spaces along the Central Coast.
Women of the Vine: Founded by a computer tech and marketing entrepreneur with a passion for food and drink, Women of the Vine seeks to connect and assist women across the wine producing areas across California.