Northwest Women Farmers Gather To Strategize Land Management

Mar 17, 2014

Women farmers met this weekend in Vancouver, WA, Idaho Falls, ID and Corvallis, OR to share strategies for managing their land. Amelia Templeton reports Washington State University organized a video conference in a dozen cities across the Northwest to help women farmers connect.

According to the latest census data, women make up about 20 percent of farm operators in Oregon and Washington and just 12 percent in Idaho. Their numbers have fallen since the 2007 census.

Lorrie Conway grew up on a farm. Now she runs a small goat dairy in Camas, WA.

“I milk about 20 does by hand. Everybody comes in at the same time every morning to the same space. They’re very well trained ladies,” she said.

Conway says she’s excited to see women playing a more visible role on farms. But it can be hard to buck the expectation that it’s your husband who’s actually the farmer.

“Boy, I’ll tell you I really get my back up when somebody calls on the farm phone and says, I need to speak to your husband, ma’am,” she said.

Washington State University extension service says it wants to help women farmers network and build financial management skills as their role in the farming community shifts. 

Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting