Mentorship

A pathway to leadership for women in agriculture

A lack of female role models is one of the key challenges in attracting and promoting women to leadership roles in agriculture. Because there are far fewer women than men in the sector, and even fewer women at the leadership level, mentorship can be a valuable tool for connecting women and supporting promising leadership talent.

Mentorships are formal relationships in which a more experienced person provides guidance and support to a less experienced person. Mentorships are a vital means of encouraging women to prepare for and participate in agriculture at the leadership level, and they offer benefits to the individual and the organization:

  • Less experienced women learn to improve their professional and leadership capabilities.
  • Women with more seniority enhance their ability to lead capably and confidently.
  • Organizations support improved performance for female employees at all levels.

SAWA offers two downloadable mentorship resources.


Making Connections: A Best-Practice Guide to Establishing a Mentorship Program is for agricultural organizations that wish to promote a more diverse and productive workforce by establishing a formal mentorship program.

Supporting Leadership: A Toolkit for Mentors and Mentees is for women who are established in their careers and ready to use their expertise to help other women advance their careers.

Download the Best-Practice Guide

Download the Toolkit


Additional mentorship resources

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Step Up Program

This government-sponsored program is an ‘on-farm’ learning placement that matches individuals who are thinking about entering a farming career with experienced farm managers. Mentees learn about farm business management in a hands-on environment.

ACORN’s Grow A Farmer Mentorship Program

This program matches beginner farmers to local, experienced organic farmers in Atlantic Canada. To participate in the program, you must be a current member of ACORN.

CRAFT (The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) Ontario

CRAFT is a network of experienced farmers offering internships on their farms in Northeastern Ontario, Kingston, Kawartha, and South West Ontario.

Cattlemen's Young Leaders

This mentorship program provides industry-specific training and interest-specific mentorship to young producers between the ages of 18 and 35 in the beef industry. 

Success for Women in Agri-Food (Alberta)

This program includes an online business development course, one-on-one mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, speed networking, and access to agri-food events.

Women in Ag Roundtable Toolkit (USDA)

The USDA Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network is a way to connect, share stories, and share experiences online and through social media with other women in agriculture.

Women in Leadership Foundation (WIL) Mentorship Program

This six-month group mentoring program gives mentees access to a diverse pool of mentors from both the private and public sectors who match their field of interest, personality, and experience.