West Virginia University Extension Service provides new ways for some of West Virginia’s 9,000 female farmers to network, grow their sustainable agribusiness, and learn leadership and marketing skills with its inaugural Women in Agriculture conference Nov. 14–15, at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia.

“As women continue to be an integral part of agriculture and agribusiness in West Virginia, it is WVU Extension’s responsibility—as part of WVU and its land-grant mission—to help fulfill the needs of women farmers and all West Virginians,” said Jennifer WilliamsWVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources program director.

WVU Extension’s Women in Agriculture conference helps develop entrepreneurial skills in women farmers across West Virginia today, while WVU Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Development programs work cooperatively to help secure the future of West Virginia’s farm industry through agriculture education and services.

WVU Extension Service’s Women in Agriculture conference offers a variety of sessions that cover the topics of farm business marketing and finance “best practices,” agritourism, government relations and educates about niche farm business areas.

“Women farm producers can benefit significantly from attending this conference because it covers a vast array of relevant subject matter to help cultivate a bright future for their farm enterprise,” explained Williams.

With four conference education tracks—livestock, horticulture, farm finances and farm niches, and a dozen sessions—participants can tailor their conference experience to their specific farm enterprise needs.

There will be a pre-conference farm tour on Friday, Nov. 14, which includes visits to several local farms that incorporate food and hay production and showcase effective marketing strategies. Cost for the tour is $35 and includes dinner. Participants can opt for the networking dinner only for $25.

“The tour, which visits multiple farms, shows participants how farm enterprises can be dynamic by providing traditional agriculture products, but also shows other methods to grow a farm business through agritourism initiatives like community, school and family events,” remarked Williams.

The farm tours and conference give farmers and farm service providers the opportunity to gain valuable insight and skills from local experts with real world experience—and to use that knowledge to build and improve their own farm operation through effective management practices.

Early bird conference registration ends Oct.1 and offers discounted rates of $30 for the pre-conference farm tour, $35 for the conference or $55 for both. Registration fees after Oct. 1 are $40 for the pre-conference farm tour, $40 for the conference or $70 for both. The conference registration deadline is Nov. 1.

Lodging is available for an additional $99/night by calling Stonewall Resort at 304-269-7400. Attendees should mention the conference when booking.

Youths, age 5-18, can participate in daytime, hands-on educational activities that engage and educate about agriculture and natural resources related areas. Cost per child is $15.

To learn more or register, visit anr.ext.wvu.edu/ag-women/wia-conference