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South Carolina Women in Agriculture Conference

Project Title: Annual Statewide Women in Agriculture Conference 

Statement of Need: Women account for more than 14% of South Carolina’s agricultural producers. Between 2012 and 2017 alone, South Carolina saw a 27.8% increase in female producers and a 56.9% increase in females as the principal producer on the farm. However, there is no comprehensive statewide event to bring together women in agriculture and those who support them to expand and share knowledge as agriculture producers, educators, and professionals. An assessment survey coordinated by the South Carolina Women's Agricultural Network (SCWAgN) from October 2020 through July 2021 attracted feedback from over 170 participants stating various needs. There are over 600 subscribers to the SCWAgN quarterly newsletter. A monthly Lunch and Learn session established in 2021 had an average of 20 participants for six sessions. The pre-existing programs under SCWAgN—Annie’s Project, Ladies Engaged in Agriculture Development, and Women Owning Woodlands—have networks of alumni and feedback from previous programs. Based on the response from these six initiatives, it is clear there is a need for a comprehensive initiative to create a statewide mission. To address the needs of women in their region, several states have established an annual Women in Agriculture Conference to equip women with opportunities to network with peers, hone technical skills, and identify solutions for the challenges that may block progress.


Project Description: This proposal seeks to obtain funding to establish an annual SCWAgN Women in Agriculture Conference. The target date for the inaugural event is November 4–5, 2022. The venue is the T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena in Pendleton, South Carolina. The SCWAgN Committee will be planning and executing the conference. We will use feedback from our 2020 Needs Assessment Survey and Lunch and Learn sessions to identify the most pressing topics. We will actively promote the conference across rural, suburban, and urban audiences to reach a diverse audience regardless of sex and agriculture production location/method/scale. General sessions will focus on business topics; breakout sessions will be based on financial, risk management, production interests, and additional program team topics; and all program teams will be invited to either present or exhibit their programmatic offerings. We intend to also invite our sister land grant university. This will become an annual event, and we will explore hybrid conference options and alternate in-person locations across the state.

South Carolina Impact: This proposal addresses the needs of a crucial emerging stakeholder audience from multiple program areas, the majority being within the $46.2 billion agriculture and forestry industries. Women in agriculture will become a significant proportion of decision-makers in these pertinent industries.

Metrics and Benchmarks: Participants will receive a survey at the conclusion of the conference to determine immediate impacts. Additionally, participants will be provided with a checklist of actions they should complete after a breakout session. After six months and one year, another survey will be sent out to determine the longer-term impacts of attending the conference. We will record repeat conference attendees and their continued involvement in SCWAgN programs with records and further surveys.


Project Budget: $1,500 for Clemson University’s T. Ed Garrison venue, $500 for materials in attendee packets and event advertising, $3,000 for national and regional speakers travel expenses.

In addition to this award money, there will be an attendee and exhibitor registration fee, and sponsorships will be actively sought out.

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