Women Farmland Owners Invited to Free Conservation Workshops

Women who own or manage farmland in Wisconsin are invited to a free workshop in May to support female landowners in learning about conservation practices and building local connections.  Women Caring For the Land is an innovative program facilitated by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN).  It brings together women landowners in an informal, discussion-based learning format that enables these land owners to meet with female conservation professionals to discuss their goals for improving air, water and soil quality on the land they own and to engage in different activities that teach conservation principles.

These workshops are free for women to attend.  The workshop runs from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and includes an informational morning session followed by lunch (provided) and a bus tour of area conservation practices in action.

The same material will be offered at each workshop; please attend which one is closest to you and fits your schedule.   Pre-registration is required and space is limited.

Tues. May 5:  EauClaire/Altoona
NRCS office, 1304 North Hillcrest Pkwy, Altoona

Wed. May 6:   Medford
USDA Service Center; 925 Medford

Thurs. May 7:  Marshfield
MARS-South  (Marshfield Research Station-South), USDA- Agricultural Research Service, 2611 Yellowstone Drive, Marshfield

To register and for more information, see:  www.womencaringfortheland.org/wisconsin

Registration deadline is May 1.

Other partners include USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency, Wisconsin Farmers Union and others.

Topics for discussion range from managing soil and water conservation to government cost-share programs to how to talk with tenants about changing management practices.  A specialized curriculum has been developed for this program, featuring activities that bring issues such as diversity and soil erosion to life.  After a facilitated morning conservation discussion and lunch, participants go on a guided tour of area farmland to see these principles and practices in action.

“Women Caring for the Land builds on more than a decade of work with women farmland owners in Iowa,” explains Lisa Kivirist, coordinator of the MOSES Rural Women’s Project and the Wisconsin partner in this project.  “Through the various pilots WFAN organized, we’ve learned that this group of women consistently demonstrates strong conservation values in surveys and interviews.  However, many of them are inheriting farmland from partners or fathers and have not participated in management decisions in the past.  These workshops provide a crucial link between these women and the resources they need to achieve their conservation goals.”

“We have had wonderful feedback from participants,” adds Bridget Holcomb, Executive Director of WFAN. “Many of them just need to network with other women landowners to give them the information and confidence they need to improve soil and water conservation on their farms.  Over 60 percent of meeting participants take at least one conservation action on their farmland within one year of attending the meeting.”

“Women Caring for the Land provides a needed connection between women landowners and the array of land conservation resources and programs we have available here in Wisconsin,” explains Judy Derricks, Assistant State Conservationist with the NRCS and the host partner in the 2015 Wisconsin workshops. “Our agency is looking forward to bringing these landowners together and providing the start for new relationships and network support for the future.”

For more information on the Wisconsin workshops and more on Women Caring for the Land see:  www.womencaringfortheland.org/wisconsin.

Source: University of Wisconsin – Extension Langlade County