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Women Farmers Plough New WI Ground

September 8, 2011

MADISON, Wis. - More Wisconsin women are making a living in agriculture than ever, and a session planned for East Troy on Sunday is aimed at helping the state's agricultural women make a go of it off the land.

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is hosting the "In Her Boots" seminar to help women with everything from launching new farms to cheese-making operations and pizza businesses - as well as the importance of healthy land, food and community connections.

One such woman is Lisa Kivirist, who helps run a family farm and a bed-and-breakfast in Green County.

"Wisconsin is one of the top 10 states in the number of women-owned farms. It's increased actually over 58 percent over the last 10 years."

Women are great at working together on these issues, says Kivirist, a worker on the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Rural Women's Project.
She says women have a unique perspective on food- and agriculture-related business.

"Women control how we eat. They control how food dollars are purchased. When you parallel that with the fact that more women are growing food, there's real opportunity there."

The last U.S. agricultural census, in 2007, reported more than 9,100 women farmers in Wisconsin.

The session will feature lots of real-life examples of how women are making a living through agricultural enterprises. More information is online at MichaelFields.org.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI