Mid-Atlantic Women and the Future of Farming

A conservation program by women, for women

Across the nation, women are playing an increasingly critical role in determining the future of our farmland.

In the next two decades, approximately 240 million acres of U.S. farmland are likely to change owners, with much of it transferred to women. By 2030, it's estimated that women may own 75 percent of transferred farmland.

While women increasingly are becoming the primary farm decision-makers, American Farmland Trust's research shows that they are under-represented in conservation programs.

AFT's national Women for the Land initiative is addressing this assistance gap with a proven model specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of women farmers and landowners.

In the Mid-Atlantic, American Farmland Trust has organized “Learning Circles” for the last several years in Maryland and Virginia. 

Our Model

AFT surveys and focus groups have shown that women farmers and landowners—whether leasing land or operating their own farms—have strong conservation and stewardship ethics. But a lack of existing resources and programs has made it difficult to engage this group in traditional conservation planning.

To address this resource gap, AFT is engaging women farmers and landowners through "conservation learning circles"—a well-tested approach that brings local groups of women landowners and female conservation professionals together for facilitated discussions.

At each learning circle, participants' questions and interests drive the conversation. Based on this guidance, expert technical staff educate farmers and landowners about best practices and available resources for soil and water conservation. Discussions also cover land leasing and passing farms on to the next generation. Participants learn a great deal from each other, sharing their knowledge and experiences of the joys and challenges of being land managers and decision-makers.

Upcoming Learning Circles

Join AFT and experts from across the region at an upcoming learning circle.

Attendance at ALL three sessions is strongly encouraged since participants play a critical role in determining what will be discussed at each meeting and will develop mutually-beneficial relationships with other outstanding women and natural resource organizations. You won't want to miss a minute!

We expect demand to be high, so please submit your pre-registration as soon as possible to reserve your slot.

Virginia Learning Circles

Check back for future announcements about upcoming Learning Circles in Virginia! 

Maryland Learning Circles

Women & Land Conservation Learning Circle: Western Shore, Maryland

Each of the three learning circle meetings will be held at the Prince George's Soil Conservation District office (5301 Race Track Rd, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772). The first two sessions will run from 9:00am - 3:00pm, lunch included. The third session will start at 4:00pm and end at 8:00pm with a “Graduation” Dinner and speaker. The cost of the entire program is $15. 

Session 1: Saturday, September 30, 2017 

Introducing Ourselves; Overview of Conservation

Session 2: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 – "Conservation on Your Farm: Who Can Help"

Conservation Programs and Practices

NOTE We will meet at 9:00 at a nearby farm then return to the office for lunch and the remainder of the session.

Session 3: Tuesday, October 24, 2017 – "Future of My Farm: Acting now for land and Family"

Succession Planning; Leasing

Click here to register for the Western Shore session! We expect demand to be high, so please submit your pre-registration as soon as possible to reserve your slot. Registration can also be completed by contacting us by phone at (301) 330-3460 or email at womenforthelandmd@farmland.org.