Perception, Opportunity, Empowerment, and Policy: Women's Influence in Kentucky Agriculture

Author/s: Courtney Lacy Jenkins, MA
Availability: Open Access
Type: Thesis
Year: 2016
Category: Agriculture
Institution: University of Kentucky

Abstract: The number of women farmers in the United States is increasing at a substantial rate. Women are fulfilling various roles on the farm and stepping into formal leadership positions in the agricultural community. This study surveys the perception of women reputational leaders in Kentucky agriculture among traditional agricultural leaders, the opportunities available to women in agriculture, the sources empowering women to serve in leadership capacities in agriculture, and how women reputational leaders influence agriculture and agricultural policy in Kentucky. The research revealed that the dynamic of Kentucky agriculture is shifting. Women have made significant strides in agriculture as farmers and professionals, resulting in women assuming formal leadership posts at all levels. Findings indicate there are ample opportunities for women in agriculture to receive informal training and education that will benefit their farm operation, but the programs should be designed solely with women’s needs in mind to be effective. Recommendations for further research include an intersectionality study of Kentucky’s women leaders in agriculture, a study of the potency of the Cooperative Extension Service and post-secondary educational institutions for grooming women leaders, and research to help determine why women tend to seek out volunteer roles in agricultural organizations rather than leadership positions.

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