Harrisburg – Networking, mentoring and collaboration are essential to a successful farm business, according to the speakers at the sixth annual “Women in Agriculture Day,” held in the PA Preferred VIP Room at the 2010 Pennsylvania Farm Show on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Linda Moist, from the Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network (PA-WAgN), and Karen Powell, from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, kicked off the meeting with the welcome.
Kevin Paulter, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Pennsylvania Field Office, said the number of principle women operators increased 41 percent from 2002-2007. Women also make up 28 percent of operators in Pennsylvania.
Deputy Agriculture Secretary for Marketing and Economic Development Michael Pechart gave some updates on the 2010 Pennsylvania Farm Show. He spoke about the National Guard attending opening ceremonies and invited the meeting participants to Public Officials Day on Thursday. Pechart also told the audience that out of the 23 Farm Show scholarship winners, 15 were young women, proving the strong female influence in agriculture.
“I’ve always had a strong appreciation of the role women have and should play in the agriculture industry,” says Pechart.
The meeting also included four panels and question and answer periods. The first was a farmer panel, titled “Networking, Mentoring and Collaboration.” Panel members discussed how they use these three tools on their own operations.
“Learning from one another is invaluable,” panel member Peggy Fogarty-Harnish said. “The key to our success is working with other farmers.”
Other panels included the Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign: The Value of working with other farmers; New and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Grants: New Opportunities for Farmers; Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Initiatives and USDA Initiatives for Farmers.
PA-WAgN has more than 1,200 members. As Ann Stone, PA-WAgN staff member, stated, “We want to increase your opportunities to share and learn from each other.”
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 285 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 9-16 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10. Visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us for details.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To receive news releases, media advisories and story ideas, subscribe to the Farm Show Media Service at www.farmshow.state.pa.us (click on Media).