Michaela Hoffelmeyer

Assistant Professor

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences | Community and Environmental Sociology

Hometown: Winterset, Iowa

In 2023, I joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the Dairy Innovation Hub-funded faculty. As part of this position, I will be conducting dairy-related research on topics such as robotics, labor, market concentration, and alternative farm models in the years to come. I earned my Ph.D. at Penn State University in Rural Sociology with a dual-title in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My work seeks to understand how various groups access agricultural resources and how structural inequalities influence food production and environmental sustainability. Over the past several years, I have worked with rural and urban women farmers, queer/LGBTQ+ farmers, midscale farms undergoing succession and transfer, and meat processing workers.

Pronouns: She/her or they/them


Laboring in Small-Scale Meat Processing

After the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasing interest and investment in small-scale meat processors. Through working in two small-scale meat processing plants and interviewing workers and managers, I offer considerations for business owners, federal and state agencies, and non-profits to strengthen the viability of these processing plants.

LGBTQ+ Farmers and Meat Processing Workers

Thousands of LGBTQ+ people are active in agriculture despite rarely being acknowledged or supported. Through interviews and surveys with LGBTQ+ farmers, I share how gender and sexuality shape where, how, and why LGBTQ+ people farm. Findings offer service providers, state agencies, and community members ways to support all farmers.