When you say the word ‘farmer’ the image of a man comes to mind. But agriculture is not just a male world anymore.

Women are a growing demographic in agriculture and small business, and they need the tools and resources to be successful and effective in their efforts to make a living.

The role of women in agriculture will be the focus of a special conference coming this spring in middle Tennessee — put together by University of Tennessee Extension and several other partners in agriculture.

The “Homefront to Heartland: Empowering Women in Agriculture and Small Business” Conference is set for Friday, April 29, 2011, in Nashville. The site of the meeting is the Scarritt — Bennett Center and participants can register online at http://www.homefronttoheartland.com.

Alice Rhea is a woman who makes her living in agriculture as an Area Farm Management Specialist with UT Extension in east Tennessee. Rhea is one of the coordinators of the Homefront to Heartland Conference.

Rhea says, “This conference is focused on providing education that will better prepare women to take care of themselves, their farm or business, and their community. Strong individuals and families make strong communities and Agriculture needs a strong voice.”

The conference seeks to empower women to return to their farm, business, community and family with new confidence, ideas and techniques to help them better manage finances, communication, time and stress.