Women who own or manage farmland in the Midwest are invited to attend "Sorting Out the Pieces: A Conference for Women Landowners." It will be held on Friday, March 1 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Best Western Holiday Lodge, Highway 18 and I-35 exit 194, Clear Lake, Iowa.
The event is sponsored by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, and will give women the opportunity to network with one another and to learn about various risk management topics, including working with tenants, using leases to promote soil and water conservation, fencing and drainage law, working with wind developers and transitioning the farm to the next generation.
Women now own or co-own half the farmland in Iowa, and an increasing number of them are sole owners. "Northern Iowa has the highest concentration in the state of single women landowners, which is why we chose to hold the conference there," explains Leigh Adcock, WFAN executive director.
Interesting topics, knowledgeable speakers will provide practical information
Presenters and topics will include: landowner Chris Henning of Cooper, Iowa, and her tenant, discussing how they work together to make her farm both profitable and sustainable; Kathy Koskovich of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Connie Roys of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service talking about programs and cost-share for protecting your farm's soil and water; Scott Buchanan, an attorney specializing in helping landowners work with wind energy developers; Edward Cox of Drake Agricultural Law Center, providing resources and answering questions on how to deal with drainage and fencing issues with your neighbors; and John Baker of Iowa State University's Beginning Farmer Center, giving information on legacy and transition options for passing the farm to the next generation of sustainable farmers.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
"This conference will be informal, participant-driven and fun," says Adcock. "We specialize in helping women landowners express and reach their goals for their farmland, particularly their conservation and legacy goals."
After the conference, there will be a short play looking at "farm transition" topic and a social hour for discussion
After the conference ends at 4:30 p.m., the general public is invited to join attendees for a one-hour social with wine and appetizers, followed by a short play called "Look Who's Knockin'." The play features an older farm couple discussing how to transition their land to the next generation, and will be presented by local actors. A short community discussion will follow. The social event and play are free, although donations will be accepted.
The conference will cost only $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Lunch and materials will be provided, including a set of three videos of women landowners talking about their land management and conservation goals. For information or to register, click here, or call Carol Schutte, 641.357.3394. Click here to email her.
Funding for this program comes from the North Central Risk Management Education Center of the USDA, through USDA-NIFA award number 2010-49200-06200. Find more resources for women landowners at WFAN's Women Caring for the Land website.