Deputy Ag Secretary To Tout Women's Programs In Ala.

Montgomery, AL – The deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants women farmers in Alabama to know how the department can help them.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will give the keynote address at the National Women in Agriculture Association conference in Tuskegee on Thursday. She says she'll outline the department's programs to help women and minority farmers.

Merrigan says women and minorities are traditionally underserved, despite the fast-growing population of women in the agriculture industry.

The USDA's most recent survey from 2007 shows women making up nearly one-third of America's more than 3 million farmers. Merrigan says she expects that number to increase in the 2012 survey.

She says more women are inheriting farms as they outlive their spouses, but the average age of farmers is also increasing.

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