Women Landowners Attend 200th Conservation Meeting
The Women, Food and Agriculture Network’s Women Caring for the Land program recently held its’ 200th meeting. More than 3,200 women have attended a Women Caring for the Land meeting. The peer-to-peer meetings intend to bridge the gap in conservation knowledge and implementation for women landowners. Women now own or co-own close to 50% of the farmland in the US. A large portion of those women are over the age of 65, and an increasing number are single owners, who may not have had much say in farm management decisions in the past.
“This program serves a wide range of women,” said Women Caring for the Land coordinator Carol Schutte. “We have women landowners managing thousands of acres, women farming five acres and absentee landowners trying to understand how to work with tenants from the city. These workshops give women a safe and welcoming space to ask questions and learn.”
Effective Learning Environment
At the workshops, women hear from a wide range of resource professionals. These experienced women help them make informed decisions about soil and water conservation, hunting and habitat management, land transition, and other topics important to women landowners.
“It was a very informative meeting where we learned about soil structure. I can’t speak highly enough of the instructors,” said Donna Solly, a landowner who recently attended a Women Caring for the Land meeting in Kentucky. “A lot of women inherit property and a meeting like this is a great space for them to learn.”
The Women Caring for the Land conservation outreach method for women farmland owners began with a pilot project in Iowa in 2009. Since then it has expanded to hold meetings in 12 states throughout the Midwest, South, and Northeast.
“This year is the 20th anniversary of WFAN’s founding,” said Bridget Holcomb, WFAN’s executive director. “It’s really exciting to celebrate 20 years of working with women in food and ag and 200 Women Caring for the Land meetings.”