Women, Land & Legacy Featured in Iowa Farmer Today

By WLL Coordinator Wren Almitra

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Participants pose for a group photo at Buchanan WLL’s Listening Session in 2018.

Recently I was interviewed by Jean Caspers-Simmet for Iowa Farmer Today about the important outreach Women, Land & Legacy is providing to women producers and landowners in Iowa. Over the past 15 years Women, Land & Legacy has reached thousands of Iowa women with educational programs designed specifically to meet their local needs and interests. Two of the greatest strengths of the program are asking women directly what they need to learn more about to make the best decisions for their land and businesses and the networks that form from partnerships across local agencies and community members. Read more in Jean’s article here.



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WLL State Team Member Recognized for USDA Outreach Work

On April 9th Women, Land & Legacy State Team member Wendi Denham was awarded the USDA Equal Employment Opportunity/Civil Rights Individual Achievement Award during the Diversity Day presentation (you can read about the 2017 group award given to the Emmet/Palo Alto WLL team here).

According to State FSA Executive Director Amanda De Jong USDA agencies look for employees that have conducted activities, such as cultural awareness, outreach to the underserved and civil rights participation. “Ms. Denham’s engagement and outreach both within Mahaska County and also across the State has helped the Farm Service Agency continue to get our message and services out producers who need them most”, says De Jong. “Ms. Denham was recognized for her outreach efforts for both local and state wide levels, including representing FSA on the WLL State Team since 2014. There’s been a 48% increase in chapters since her involvement.”

Award April 2019 denham

State Team member and Mahaska CED Wendi Denham (left) with SED Amanda De Jong.

“UDSA has something for almost every landowner and producer”, says Denham. “Outreach efforts are imperative, as they ensure producers are aware of USDA program opportunities that are available to assist them with beginning or enhancing their farming operations. Working with people and teaching others are my passions. Outreach affords me the chance to work with people of diverse backgrounds and team them about the programs USDA has to offer.” Continue reading

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Women, Land & Legacy News


Enjoy the latest news from Women, Land & Legacy

In this edition:

  • Free Farm Conservation Assessment Tool
  • Upcoming Women, Land & Legacy events across Iowa
  • Upcoming Women Caring for the Land events
  • Winter Learning Session re-caps
  • On-line tool connects land owners with land seekers
  • Disaster relief resources

Archived newsletters can be found here.

Thanks for reading!

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Free Farm Assessment Tool Provides Multiple Benefits to Landowners

A new tool provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service is available to landowners to help them assess and meet their stewardship goals. Partnering with the National Farmers Union, Iowa women landowners can take part in a free and confidential assessment to determine where improvements can be made to maximize soil health and water quality in a particular field on their farm.

The tool, called the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET), takes stock of risks based on specific site conditions such as soils, climate, topography, etc. and then assesses how well current management and conservation practices address those risks. Depending on the results, recommendations may be made for best practices to improve any problem areas. Evaluations are available for cropland, pasture, forest and other ag. related land uses.

The benefits of this tool are many. Continue reading

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Upcoming Women Caring for the Land Meetings Focus on Soil Health, Water Quality

Women who own or manage farmland in Iowa are invited to participate in free discussions focused on soil health.

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WCL facilitator Jean Eels demonstrating a soil health test.

Maintaining healthy soil is the key to productivity and environmental health for our farmland.  Nearly half the farmland in Iowa is currently owned or co-owned by women and we know women are interested in preserving Iowa’s soil and improving water quality. Women Caring for the LandSM offers a peer-to-peer, informal discussion format to allow women landowners to talk about their farm management goals, facilitated by women conservationists.

Upcoming Women Caring for the Land meetings are happening in Toledo (April 2nd), Dallas Center (April 3rd), Story City (April 10th) and Forest City (April 24th). More details on these meetings can be found here.

Two other Women Caring for the Land meetings will happen in Iowa City (May 1st) and Cedar Falls (May 2nd). More details on those meetings here.

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Two Upcoming WLL Conferences

We have a few events coming up this spring and summer with more events being planned so stay tuned to our calendar to find an event near you. Don’t see your county listed? Check out our map and list of participating counties here. Want to see Women, Land & Legacy in your county? Contact us to learn more! 

Buchanan WLL – Connecting Women in Ag. Conferencebuchanan county
May 17th, Independence
Buchanan Women, Land & Legacy will host their first conference, Connecting Women in Ag. at Heartland Acres Agribution Center, 2600 Swan Lake Blvd., Independence. More details can be found at the event page or contact the team at wll.buchanan.women@gmail.com or call Buchanan Extension, 319-334-7161. You can also connect with them at their Facebook page.

Iowa WLL – Iowa Women Landowners Conferenceiowa county
June 20th, Brooklyn
Iowa Women, Land & Legacy will host their 7th annual Iowa Women Landowners Conference in Brooklyn. The theme this year is Farm Stress and Solutions, Distress or De-stress. More details to come, stay tuned to their Facebook page or contact the team at 319-668-2359.

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Winter Sessions Bring Warmth in Networking and Learning

Despite the weather, Women, Land & Legacy teams across the state held a collective twelve events this winter. With a few re-schedules, and some events held in sub-zero temperatures, participants came out in high numbers to network and learn. Read some highlights below and stay tuned to our events calendar for upcoming sessions near you!

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Des Moines/Louisa WLL hosted Steve Bohr and Mike Downey with Next Generation Ag Advocates on February 21 in Mediapolis.  Approximately 43 people attended to hear the presentation about flexible lease arrangements, strategies for transitioning farms to the next generation, connecting the next generation of landowners and producers, and the navigating the perfect storm in American Agriculture.

P2250100.JPGMahaska/Marion WLL held a two-part Estate and Succession Planning series this winter. 25 people attended part 1 in Oskaloosa on January 28th with presenter Charles Brown of ISU Extension & Outreach. At this session, attendees were given a binder that contained a planning guide that helped them organize their personal and farm information, and encouraged them to think about all parts of their life when planning ahead. Part 2 was held in Knoxville on February 25th with Charles Brown and Billi Braun with 35 people in attendance. This session was a follow-up from Part 1, but also allowed plenty of time for participants to ask our professionals questions about all aspects of estate and succession planning.


Tama County WLL held its 35th event on March 12th: Hops in Iowa: From the Field to the Tap.  Keri Byrum of Cedar Falls Hops Company and brewer Nick Newgard of Second State Brewing in Cedar Falls discussed their businesses.  22 people were in attendance and learned the ins and outs of growing hops in Iowa (yes, it can be done!) and how the different varieties of hops impact brewers’ products. Stay tuned to the team’s Facebook page for upcoming events in Tama Co.


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An ever timely and popular topic, on March 12th  Buchanan WLL held a session on estate planning and land transition with presenter Melissa O’Rourke of ISU Extension & Outreach. 29 participants joined for part 2 of this topic, following part 1 in the fall of 2018. Check out Buchanan’s Facebook page for information on their upcoming first annual conference, Connecting Women in Ag, to be held May 17th in Independence.


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Online Tool Connects Land Owners with Land Seekers

Women landowners are an important part of the Iowa landscape, owning or co-owning nearly 50% of land in the state. Most of these women are non-operators and may live off of the farmFindaFarmer-logo-300x193, yet who care about the integrity of soil health and water quality, and are concerned about the future ownership of their land.

Seemingly without many options but wanting to pass on the farms to good stewards, connecting with prospective farmers with a shared vision can be daunting. There are resources, however, for women who want to find a good successor. One of these is the Find A Farmer website from Practical Farmers of Iowa. Launched in 2011, this resource is one solution to preserving family farms while creating land access for beginning and other types of farmers.  Read more here about the recently improved website and contact Practical Farmers of Iowa for more information. You can also visit the website directly at www.findafarmer.net.


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Women, Land & Legacy News


Enjoy the latest news from Women, Land & Legacy

In this edition:

  • Women, Land & Legacy Celebrates 15 Years
  • Upcoming Women, Land & Legacy events across Iowa
  • Upcoming Winter Conferences
  • Conservation Woman of the Year, Jan Wobeter
  • Re-cap of WLL Events
  • Applications Open for Aspiring and Beginning Women Farmer Program

Archived newsletters can be found here.

Thanks for reading!

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Winter 2019 Conferences for Farmers, Landowners

Winter is conference time for farmers and landowners and there is an abundance of them coming right up!

National Farmers Union Women’s ConferenceNFU_logo_700by400-700x400
January 13th – 17th, San Diego, CA

Attendees will go home with the tools they need to run a successful operation, including business planning skills, innovating marketing tactics, food safety planning, and a network of other women in agriculture across the country. Learn more and register at the link below! https://nfu.org/education/womensconference/

Women in Agriculture Conferencewomen in ag ill conference
January 14th, Rock Island, IL

Farm women and all those involved in the agriculture industry should plan to attend the Women in Agriculture Conference. This conference is a one day seminar to help women become empowered in agriculture. More at http://www.womeninagricultureconference.com/

Practical Farmers of Iowa Annual ConferencePFI_logo.png
January 17th – 19th, Ames, IA

At Practical Farmers’ 2019 annual conference, Cultivating Connections, you’ll have a chance to reconnect with old friends, cultivate new relationships and learn from a community that believes in sharing knowledge to benefit everyone. This year’s conference will focus on how to cultivate connections that nurture a purposeful path. https://practicalfarmers.org/events/annual-conference/

Women in Denimwomen in denim logo
February 25th – 26th, Storm Lake, IA

The goal of Women in Denim is to support women in agriculture and those who enjoy the rural way of life. Women involved in agriculture will find workshops to sharpen their skills in decision making, leadership, finances, and knowledge of agriculture. There are workshops that also support and acknowledge the importance of family, community, leisure time, quality of life and overall wellness. More at www.womenindenim.com.

MOSES Organic Farming ConferenceMOSES-logo-transparent-back-3-300x94
February 21st – 23rd, La Crosse, WI

MOSES is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming, offering 60 workshops over 6 sessions, inspiring keynotes, engaging roundtables, and a resource-packed exhibit hall with over 170 vendors. Organic University, day 1 of the conference, provides full-day classes that dig deeper into specific farming topics. https://mosesorganic.org/conference/

Cover Crop Conferencecover crop conf
March 1st, Durant, IA

Regional conference hosted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Soil and Water Conservation Districts at the Durant Community Center. No cost for participation, free lunch. Focus is on benefits and challenges of cover crops, soil health impacts, fiscal sustainability. Speakers include Andrew Vickers and Jason Steele. RSVP to Lydia Whitman 563-886-6214 x3 or lydia.whitman@ia.nacdnet.net

Women Gaining Groundlogo
March 9th, Glenwood, IA

Women, Land & Legacy of Southwest Iowa will host a one-day conference for women to converse, learn and become empowered. https://www.facebook.com/womenlandlegacywgg/

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