Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture

Brenda Mack

The Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture project centers around the fact that farmwomen and women in agriculture have unique needs in responding to farm and agricultural stress because of the multiple roles they play.

The project launched in 2018 with an online early-stress-detection questionnaire that was completed by over 300 women in agriculture. The results showed that women experience high levels of occupational stress, relationships are key to resiliency, and online offerings help bridge gaps when face-to-face options have accessibility hurdles.

In response to the significant need, and using the questionnaire responses as a guide, the project has developed multiple resources for women in agriculture, including live and recorded virtual telehelp webinars, in-person presentations at women’s conferences, online anonymous Coffee Chats, and a podcast addressing the stress and mental health issues for women in agriculture.

The Cultivating Resiliency Project continues to grow beyond the original partner project funding from UMASH, continuously expanding resources and creating new partnerships.

2020 Project Update

At UMASH’s 2018 Building Resilient Agricultural Communities Forum, panelist Doris Mold, MS realized the need for more support to help women in agriculture weather the stressors that accompany living and working on a farm. They especially noticed a need for more explicit programming dedicated to mental health, women, and agriculture.

Dorris Mold is an agricultural consultant and farmer. She is also known as a past president and current committee member of American Agri-Women. Mold joined forces with Megan Roberts – University of Minnesota Extension Educator, co-leader of the University of Minnesota Extension’s Women in Ag Network, and farmer. Roberts and Mold settled upon a far-reaching idea: to host free webinars addressing needs specific to women. Given the long days required of farmers, this would allow more women to attend. The only equipment viewers would need is a phone or a computer.

Roberts and Mold applied for and were granted a pilot project grant through UMASH. With funding in place, they were ready to make big changes! First, they partnered with American Agri-Women, District 11 Agri-Women, and the University of Minnesota Extension’s Women in Ag Network. Shauna Reitmeier, MSW, LGSW and Brenda Mack, LICSW joined the team to help lead the webinars.

The webinars have been a success! The project has generated a large amount of interest in newspapers, magazines, web articles, radio interviews, and on social media. Online participants represent 46 states and 5 Canadian provinces, with the majority hailing from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana. 90% of the 300 women surveyed for the Cultivating Resiliency project said they experience stress related to agriculture. This demonstrates the necessity of these webinars.

2019 Project Update

Featured Resources


What people are saying…

You are all effective presenters. (Effective use of objective data and tools and from-the-heart experience.) Thank you!

I appreciate the hosts for their time. I really felt like I am better equipped to manage and adapt my own self-care plan.

Online participants have come from 36 states and provinces with the majority coming from the Upper Midwest. For those completing the post session surveys, the following was discovered: the audience is primarily women 23-72 years of age and they engage in production agriculture and other agricultural positions, often both.

The project has generated a large amount of media interest. Newspaper, magazine, and web articles and radio interviews along with social media posts. Plans are underway for an expanded project that is national in scope to take what we has been learned to develop additional programming and assist more people.







Doris Mold
Past-President, American Agri-Women; Minnesota Agri-Women District 11 President;
Farm Business Management Instructor
Email: doris@sunriseag.net

Megan Roberts
Extension Educator, Co-Leader Minnesota Women in Ag Network, University of Minnesota Extension
Phone: 507-389-6722
Email: meganr@umn.edu

This project has brought together American Agri-Women, District 11 Agri-Women, University of Minnesota Extension- Women in Ag Network and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) to work on this effort. Funding is provided by a UMASH grant.