More women entering the farming industry

More women entering the farming industry

FREEPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Agriculture has always been a large part of Maine, but the face of the industry is starting to change.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree moderated a panel discussion on Monday at Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport talking about the growing farm to table movement, and the number of women and young people entering the industry.

According to 2012 figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 percent of Maine's farmers are women, and that number is only increasing.

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden was part of Monday's panel discussion. She said part of the change is that women are now being more recognized for the work they've already been doing on farms.

She also said the technology is changing and there's less heavy lifting in the industry. There's also new avenues women can explore within agriculture.

Tomi Chipman, of Chipman Farms, is a recent college graduate. She's the first in her family to pursue higher education. Two years into biology, she realized how much she missed the farm, and changed majors to agriculture.

Now, she's excited to take what she learned in college back to her family's farm, and help progress it even further.

The USDA has a list of resources for women and minorities in the industry, for more information, click here.

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden also announced Monday that farmers can enroll in the USDA's Dairy Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016. Dairy farmers can sign up for a level of coverage and recieve assistance from the USDA when the margin -- the difference between the price of milk and feed costs -- dips below that level.

For more information, click here.


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