Purdue Extension is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Women in Agriculture Awards.

The annual awards recognize women who have provided leadership and made positive contributions to Indiana agriculture through their involvement in an Indiana agricultural enterprise, agribusiness, farm or commodity organization, said Christa Holloway, health and human sciences Extension educator in Fulton County and awards coordinator.

There are two awards - the Achievement Award, honoring a woman who has been active in Indiana agriculture primarily through a home farm operation or agribusiness, and the leadership award, given to a woman who serves in an agribusiness or policymaking position.

An award nomination form is available at http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/wia/  

Application deadline is May 4. The awards will be presented Aug. 15 at the Indiana State Fair during the Lt. Governor's Celebration of Ag Ceremony.

"Women are an important part of the agricultural industry in Indiana," Holloway said. "There are many avenues in which women participate."

Women have careers in agriculture that involve farm production, agribusiness management and marketing, research and engineering, food science, education, landscape architecture and energy, among other areas of work.

According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, of the 3.3 million U.S. farm operators, more than 1 million, or 30 percent, were women. That was a 19 percent increase from the Census data in 2002.

In 2007, women were principal operators of 14 percent of the nation's 2.2 million farms, an increase of 30 percent increase from 2002.