Virginia farm women highlighted

Published 3:35 pm Friday, December 11, 2020

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Virginia Cooperative Extension has launched a series of monthly webinars that highlight the contributions of women in agriculture and provide educational and networking opportunities for Virginia farm women.

The “Women in Agriculture Network: Fostering Female Farmers” series began Dec. 1 with an introductory meeting featuring discussions among participants about their lives as farm women. The webinar was held on Zoom, and was streamed and recorded on Facebook Live.

Guest speaker Meredith Bernard, who raises beef cattle with her husband, Lawrence, in Caswell County, North Carolina., shared her experiences as a first-generation farmer. Bernard, who also manages a successful YouTube channel that chronicles life on her family’s farm, emphasized the importance of voicing the female perspective on agriculture.

“I believe that we’re in a time—more than ever—when it’s important for us to tell our stories,” she said. “There are so many people out there who want to tell our story for us, and they don’t necessarily want to do that in a positive light.

“I just want people to know and understand that their stories matter,” she added. “What you’re doing matters, your voice matters, your opinion matters, and I want us as women farmers to own that and to share our stories in any capacity we can.”

Faye Hundley, chairman of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Leadership Committee, said the webinar was an excellent opportunity for farm women to interact and expand their social circles.

“The first session of the series was great, and it was very encouraging to see a lot of familiar faces attending the meeting alongside Farm Bureau women,” Hundley said. “Meredith Bernard’s presentation was very engaging, and we as viewers learned many valuable lessons on how to use social media to share our important stories as women in agriculture.”

Virginia Cooperative Extension agents will continue to host the webinars the first Tuesday of each month. The next session is expected to feature discussions on women in leadership positions in agricultural industries.