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The Heart of the Farm – Audio

Heart of the Farm

Jenny Vanderlin, Senior Information Consultant
Center for Dairy Profitability
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 263-7795

2:49 – Total Time
0:16 – Introduction to Heart of the Farm
0:33 – Why the program is important
1:09 – Role of women on farm changed
1:37 – More equal business setting
2:05 – Shift to more female farm managers
2:30 – For more information
2:40 – Lead out


Sevie Kenyon: Learning about the Heart of the Farm, we’re visiting today with Jenny Vanderlin, Center for Dairy Profititablilty, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Jenny, start out by introducing us to the Heart of the Farm.

Jenny Vanderlin: Well the Heart of the Farm is a UW-Extension program that addresses the needs of farm women by offering them workshops or conferences or evening training on business and risk management topics.

Sevie Kenyon: Jenny, why is this so important for farm women?

Jenny Vanderlin: Over the years the role of farm women has changed. The Heart of the Farm provides education that they would be needing to make decisions on the farm. As well as giving them a social outlet or networking with other farm women that are in the same position that they are in. Heart of the Farm conferences and workshops give them the networking opportunity to talk to women that are more kind of in the same situation as they are.

Sevie Kenyon: Jenny, do you have a sense of whether the role of women in agriculture is changing?

Jenny Vanderlin: The 2012 Census will say that women who are primary operators of farms has decreased. However, we’re not finding that at all. We think it’s declined because of the definition of farm, but within our audience, we’re not finding that. Actually, we’re finding a little bit more of an increase of primary operators.

Sevie Kenyon: How are the changes in farming itself affecting the role in women of agriculture?

Jenny Vanderlin: I think more and more they’re getting involved with their partner. It’s much more of an equal partnership. That they’re becoming a lot more educated, becoming more educated on what a balance sheet is, what an income statement is, they’re working with their partner or their spouse in making those decisions on whether or not they are going to modernize or they are going to buy another piece of equipment.

Sevie Kenyon: Can you give us an example of one of the changes you have seen?

Jenny Vanderlin: When I started working at the center and I was going out and teaching record keeping, mostly it was the male producers that would come to my workshop. Over the course of the years and through the Heart of the Farm, it is the women who are attending more of these risk management business workshops. So that’s a big change.

Sevie Kenyon: Jenny, if people are interested in more information, what should they do?

Jenny Vanderlin: Well if you Google “Heart of the Farm” we’re the first ones that come up. You can also go up onto the Facebook at Heart of the Farm or you can call me directly or your county agent.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Jenny Vanderlin, Center of Dairy Profitability, University of Wisconsin Madison Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.