Susan Weaver Ford, from Kenly in North Carolina, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship, supported by a collaboration from the state of North Carolina. She will study the role of women in agriculture.
Susan is directly involved in the 2000-acre family farm, producing corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and cotton. She assists in all aspects of the business including marketing commodities, record keeping, purchasing equipment and staff training. She is also involved in operations including planting, ploughing, spraying and harvesting.
Independently, Susan also operates a 10-acre horticultural business growing peas, butterbeans, string beans, squash and pumpkin. She sells direct to the customer and recently expanded with a delivery service, utilising social media to develop in this direction.
Susan holds an MBA from West Virginia Wesleyan College, a BS Business Administration, Minor in English from North Carolina State University and has achieved Certificates in Executive Farm Management and Agriculture Leadership Development programs.
For her Nuffield Scholarship, Susan will research gender inequality in agriculture and promote women in the industry to inspire and educate the next generation.
"According to the World Economic Forum, women grow 70% of food in Africa, yet 65% of the land in Kenya for example, is governed by customary laws discriminating against woman," she says.
"In developing countries, women receive only a fraction of the land, financing, inputs, training and information of male farmers, yet women can bring a different perspective and are great at multitasking in the role of a new-age farmer today, including producer, accountant, mechanic, accountant, chef and mom.
"I am enthused by reports that suggest that closing the global gender gap in agriculture would grow food production and build more sustainable futures for women."
Susan sees herself as the owner-operator of the family farm business in future years and would like to promote and educate young aspiring female farmers and prepare her children for a profession in agriculture.
"I would like to visit countries including the USA, West Africa, United Kingdom, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia to observe the cultural differences of female farmers and how empowering women in agriculture can enhance global food production".
Susan is a Board Member of North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and sits on the Grant Review Committee at North Carolina AgVentures.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA COALITION
This scholarship is a collaboration of organisations based in North Carolina, including AgCarolina Farm Credit; Flatlands Insurance Group; North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Griffin Farms, Inc.; North Carolina Small Grains Association; Nuffield USA; Kee's Creek Farms. For further information regarding Nuffield Scholars in the USA, contact Ed Kee, President, at 302-222-0282, firstname.lastname@example.org