Success StoryKWIA Grows Female Ag Leaders



KWIA Grows Female Ag Leaders

Author: Lindie Huffman

Planning Unit: Pendleton County CES

Major Program: Agriculture and Extension Leadership Development

Plan of Work: Building a diverse economy that emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurship and small business and community development

Outcome: Intermediate Outcome

In 2017, 42,946 women farmed in Kentucky, up 36.7 percent from the number identified in the previous census. Of those, 33,550 were involved in making day-to-day decisions on the farm, 26,215 were the principal producers on their farms, and 12,648 listed farming as their primary occupation, the census found. While Kentucky Women in Agriculture was established in 1999, KWIA recognizes the contributions of the farm woman through centuries of involvement both on-farm and in the home. The mission of KWIA is to empower women through education, action, and involvement, and over the course of the last three years, the organization has rekindled the relationship with KY Extension and has put the effort into recognizing outstanding women of ag from across the Commonwealth.

This recognition and focus on providing a comfortable space for ag women to gather and the network has lead to the organization surpassing so many successes. As of October 2020, KWIA has surpassed 300 members for the first time in its history and is continuing to grow! This occurring the year after celebrating its 20th anniversary. "I've never been to a conference where I've felt so empowered and comfortable", a 2019 conference attendee elated. 

The premiere event of KWIA is its annual conference which has seen steady attendance of around 140-150 women over the course of three years. 2020 forced the postponement of the in-person gathering, but the KWIA leadership took the initiative to pivot to host a fully virtual conference, where 154 women registered for the event. Topics include education, business planning, success sharing through storytelling, and mental health.

That is what KWIA strives to do is to be a connector to create informal mentorship opportunities through the amazing network of agri-professionals, farmers, and consumers that constitute its membership. "If it wasn't for the KWIA annual conference, I wouldn't have had the courage to start my new business. In just a year of owning the business, I've cleared $50,000 and it's because of the education and network that I took the initiative to pursue my dreams."

The success of KWIA can be attributed to its leadership from a diverse group of volunteer leaders who are committed to the mission of empowering their sisterhood. The KWIA board is comprised of 28 women from across the Commonwealth. Lindie Huffman, Pendleton ANR Agent has served as President since 2018, bringing with her a vision of shedding the light on members and re-branding the organization.








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