The CHS Foundation will contribute $150,000 to eXtension to develop and implement a national online Women in Agriculture National Learning Network. The network will help women who operate and manage farms improve their quality of life by providing resources to make better business decisions while maintaining a balance with family and personal obligations.
Currently, about half of the states’ Cooperative Extension programs offer information and education for women farmers, but there is no national network that brings all the Extension resources to one online location. The contribution from the CHS Foundation will change that with the new network on eXtension. eXtension, America’s Research-based Learning Network®, is an online educational network providing objective, science-based information from 75 land-grant universities and expert partners.
Women now own about half of all farmland in the U.S., often as the result of inheritance. Many of the farms operated by women are small-scale operations earning less than $50,000 annually. Many focus on organic agriculture and value-added farming and raise small livestock.
“The CHS Foundation is proud to support the Women in Ag Learning Network, which will provide exceptional resources to help women operate profitable farming operations and take on leadership roles in agriculture,” says William Nelson, president, CHS Foundation and vice president, CHS Corporate Citizenship.
Farm financial management is one of the key resources planned within the new network. Topics will include beginning farming skills, financial and business planning, time management, government programs, insurance, labor management, legal issues, risk management, transition planning, organic farming, sustainable agriculture and conservation practices.
The first steps to creating the Women in Agriculture Learning Network include recruiting industry experts and educators who will provide leadership and developing peer-reviewed content and learning tools for a December 2014 online launch date.
The CHS Foundation has previously helped fund two resource areas on eXtension.org: Ag Safety and Health, http://www.extension.org/farm_safety_and_health, and Cooperatives, http://www.extension.org/cooperatives.
The CHS Foundation (www.chsfoundation.org) is the major giving entity of CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com), the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation is committed to investing in the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development.