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 Mid-Atlantic Women and the Future of Farming project will address this assistance gap with a proven model specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of women farmers and landowners.

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.

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

Virginia Learning Circles

Women & Land Conservation Learning Circle: Augusta County, Virginia

All meetings will be held at the Augusta County Farm Bureau Office in Verona from 10:00am - 2:00pm. Coffee and registration start at 9:30am. Cost for entire program is $15.00 and includes lunches.

Session 1: Thurs, Feb 9, 2017 - "Conservation Planning: You and Your Land"

Session 2: Thurs, March 9, 2017 – "Conservation on Your Farm: Who Can Help?"

Session 3: Thur, April 6, 2017 – "Future of My Farm: Planning a Legacy"


Conservation on Your Land Learning Circle: Harrisonburg, Virginia

All meetings will be held at Farm Credit of the Virginias at 4646 South Valley Pike in Harrisonburg VA from 4:30pm - 8:30pm. Cost for the entire program is $15.00.

Session 1: Wed, March 8, 2017 - "Conservation Planning: You and Your Land"

Session 2: Wed, April 5, 2017 – "Conservation on Your Farm: Who Can Help?"

Session 3: Wed, April 19, 2017 – "Future of My Farm: Planning a Legacy"


Women & Land Conservation Learning Circle: Farmville, Virginia

All meetings will be held from 4:30pm - 8:30pm. Cost for the entire program is $15.00 and includes dinners. Pay at the door on April 11. Register by April 4th.

Session 1: Tues, April 11, 2017 - "Conservation Planning: You and Your Land"

Session 2: Tues, May 9, 2017 – "Conservation on Your Farm: Who Can Help?"

Session 3: Tues, June 6, 2017 – "Future of My Farm: Planning a Legacy"


Maryland Learning Circles

Women & Land Conservation Learning Circle: Mid-Shore, Maryland

Each of the three learning circle meetings will be held in different locations (described below). Each session will run from 9:00am - 3:00pm and cost $15 to attend.

Session #1: Thursday, February 16, 2017 – "Conservation Planning: You and Your Land"

Location: Dorchester Soil Conservation District office, 204 Cedar Street, Suite 200, Cambridge, MD 21613

  • Introducing Ourselves; Overview of Conservation

Session 2: Thursday, March 9, 2017 – "Conservation on Your Farm: Who Can Help"

Location: Greenage Neal Agricultural Center, 9194 Legion Road, Suite 3, Denton, MD 21629

  • Conservation Programs and Practices

Session 3: Thursday, March 30, 2017 – "Future of My Farm: Acting now for land and Family"

Location: Eastern Shore Conservation Center, 114 South Washington Street, Easton, MD 21601

  • Succession Planning; Leasing

Click here to register for the Mid-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 (503) 791-8405 or email at aftwomenandland@gmail.com.