Gathering everyone together to increase conservation efforts

Landowners have a great opportunity to shape how their land is managed. In Iowa, about 40% of agricultural land is owned by women.  It is crucial to have women represented at field days and workshops so they can make informed decisions in their operations and/or with their tenants. women attendees

For the past two years, 27% of Iowa Learning Farms attendees were women. From the 2017 demographic cards, 17% of all attendees who identified as farmers/operators or landowners were women; 40% of those who identified as “other” were women (government employees, agribusiness, students or educators). Since ILF first started hosting field days in 2004, the number of women attending field days has increased. More women are now serving as Extension Specialists, agronomists, and government employees and this is reflected in our data.

dsc_1789.jpgWomen continue to play an active role in the farming operation with 43% of women attendees describing themselves as active farmers/operators and 64% describe themselves as landowners. Nearly 60% reported owning more than three-quarters of their land. This finding is consistent with the trend of increasing numbers of acres owned by female landowners. It is encouraging to see these women taking an active role in the management of their land as both farmer/operator and/or landowner.

In 2018, ILF will continue to seek new ways to increase female attendance, especially female farmers/operators and landowners, at field days and workshops. Women indicated to us that they would prefer to attend events on Tuesday-Thursday either in the morning (41%) or afternoon (57%). This year we are planning to offer events at these times to see if we can increase the number of women attending our events. We also plan to partner with organizations that focus on women farmers/operators and landowners.

Stayed tuned for more highlights from our 2017 Evaluation Report and be sure to click subscribe and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Liz Juchems

ILF Webinar Recap: Women, Land, & Legacy

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April’s Iowa Learning Farms webinar featured guests Tanya Meyer-Dideriksen and Wren Almitra discussing the Women, Land, and Legacy (WLL) program. Women, Land, and Legacy is a statewide outreach program focused on empowering Iowa’s farm women.

Spurred by the increase in the numbers of women finding themselves in decision-making positions on farmland, the USDA Outreach Council in 2003 determined there was a need for an outreach program aimed at reaching these women. A committee was formed and in 2004 Women, Land, and Legacy officially kicked off. For 10 years a state team guided efforts across Iowa, after which it has since been led by a state coordinator.

Women, Land, and Legacy’s outreach is locally led at the county level by teams of women from USDA agencies, conservation districts, Iowa State Extension, as well as farmers, and other community leaders. The local teams host listening sessions which are meant to provide women with a networking opportunity, a place to voice their concerns, and an opportunity to discuss issues most important to them in regards to farming and land management.

The listening sessions then guide the efforts of the local team and shape topics for learning sessions. Learning sessions are informative and educational events that build on those topics. They often include local presenters and site visits, but more than anything the learning sessions provide a time for additional dialogue and opportunities to connect to local resources.

WLL is currently active in 24 counties , with 18 local teams working hard to reach women farmers and landowners. Since 2004, over 45 counties have participated, and local teams have reached 3,000 participants.

If you’d like to learn more, watch the archived version of the webinar on the ILF website here. If you’d like to watch any of our past webinars, the full archive can be found here.

 

 

Conservation Chat Ep. 14 with Dr. Angie Carter

carter_Angela_photoIn Episode 14 of the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Chat, Angie Carter and Jackie Comito chat about women landowners and the role they play in conservation practice adoption here in Iowa.  As a 7th generation Iowan, who experienced the toll of the 1980s farm crisis, Angie has a strong connection to Iowa’s landscape and protecting it for future generations

Angie is a recent doctoral graduate from the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University where she co-majored in the Graduate Program for Sustainable Agriculture.  Her dissertation, Constructing and contesting narratives: women and farmland ownership in Iowa, took an in-depth look women landowners and some of the difficulties they face in caring for their land.

Throughout the chat, Angie shares stories from her interactions with women landowners.  Some stories are uplifting and empowering, while others highlight the lingering challenges of gender and land ownership established decades, even centuries ago.  With over 47% of Iowa’s land owned or co-owned by women, we are an important factor in conservation adoption and sustainability (economically and environmentally) of agricultural production in Iowa.

Working with organizations like Women Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN), Practical Farmers of Iowa and many more, we can work together to empower women and future generations of Iowa landowners.  WFAN is a great organization dedicated to linking and empowering women to build food systems and communities that are healthy, just, sustainable, and that promote environmental integrity. For more information visit: www.wfan.org

Check out the podcast today to hear the full interview!

Liz Juchems