Durham, North Carolina
Farm Credit Affiliation
Carolina Farm Credit
NC Choices - Women Working in the Meat Business Program's Perspective
The Women Working in the Meat Business (WWMB) program is sponsored by NC Choices (NCC) and designed to
help women overcome real and perceived barriers in their meat business careers
by offering educational, technical, and business planning assistance while also
building a professional network.
program developed in response to the expressed need for specialized, intensive
training by producers, butchers, processors and chefs. Now entering its third year,
the intensive, three-day program has helped participants develop greater
understanding and improved confidence in pricing and profit, efficient carcass
utilization, marketing, and creating value-added products.
NCC Program Director Sarah Blacklin, WWMB secured sponsorships that enabled 32
women from across the country to attend the inaugural program. As a result, the
WWMB program has initiated widespread conversations pertaining to local foods
and the role of women in this growing sector. WWMB also secured media
attention, including a feature story on local and National Public Radio
segments and a New York Times article that identified the program as the nation’s
only retreat for women in the meat business. Such media coverage has helped bring
attention to this underserved population of pioneering women in the national
niche meat industry.
women farmers, processors, distributors and marketers have the ability to
problem-solve key supply chain challenges and advance our local food and
farming system,” says Sarah. “ I would like to see more women build confidence,
deepen professional networks, and become visible leaders in agriculture in
order for others to follow. I hope these seminars are one step in that process
and that we continue to make more resources available to bolster successful
program’s success has grown with each year, and high demand for workshop spots has
doubled the class size with participants representing an ever-broader geography.
The WWMB program has also served as a model for other regional meat conferences
that now include sessions specifically focused on women working in the meat business.
minds from every sector: environmental, social, economic, political, and human,
to work together to make agriculture adaptive so that it can respond to a
changing future and resilient so that it can continue to serve as the foundation
of our local communities,” says Sarah.
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