Buchanan County WLL Holds Successful Lunch & Learn in March

Buchanan County WLL held their second successful Lunch & Learn on March 4, 2021. The event was attended by 17 people and focused on local small agriculture-related businesses.

Lindsy Trotter, owner of Chilled Freezer Meals shared about her business that offers frozen meals made for local fresh foods. Josh Spece, who co-owns In The Country Garden & Gifts with his mother, Sue Spece spoke about their business. He shared their journey as small business owners as well as tips and tricks for home gardens.

The Buchanan County WLL local team is utilizing several resources to add to their success. For their recent Zoom Learning Sessions, they have utilized Eventbrite for registrations and Mailchimp to assist with the email campaign.

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Buena Vista / Pocahontas WLL Provide Cybersecurity Virtual Session

On January 8, 2021, the Buena Vista and Pocahontas County WLL Team conducted an informative virtual Learning Session entitled Cybersecurity: Tips to Reduce Your Gigabyte-sized Security Risk to a Kilobyte. The Zoom event was attended by 13 people. The event was also sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, ISU Extension and Outreach, USDA-NRCS and USDA-FSA in both counties.

Matt Morton described why we are all more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks and provided a history of communication (from the telegraph to present) that showed how communication security has been a risk for 150 years. Today, data breaches are very costly and can take up to a full year before they are discovered. Matt discussed viruses and how ransomware can hold businesses and agencies hostage. Interestingly, phishing incidences are higher in the Midwest because we tend to trust others and get pulled into the scam.

Healthcare cyber attacks have become more frequent during the pandemic. Stealing of intellectual property has become a more significant risk in recent years, including property from Pioneer (Dupont) and Monsanto. Automated farm machinery can increase cyber threats!

Matt shared how to protect ourselves against phishing, romance predators and overall cyber risks. Cyber security is now affecting everyone! Even our at-home devices (Alexa, Google Home) are a security risk as they are always listening and some information is recorded for marketing purposes, although privacy settings are available.

The event was recorded and will be available on the Buena Vista County Extension Service website at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/buenavista on January 13, 2021.

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Buchanan County WLL Hosts Well-Attended Virtual Seminar

The WLL Local Team from Buchanan County developed and hosted Connecting Women in Ag, a successful virtual seminar that took place over the lunch hour on December 9 and 10, 2020. The seminar each day included two presenters and plenty of time for questions. The event was attended by 36 women!

On December 9th, Mary Faber, from Illinois, presented a colorful discussion about her new flower farm, which she started in the Fall of 2019. Mary talked about how she came up with the business idea, how she and her family started seeds, planted in the spring, and lessons learned. She talked about business ideas and plans and what changes and additions she intends for 2021. Also that day, Lynn Bolen talked about the dairy farm that she and her husband own and operate and New Day Dairy, the guest barn where people can stay and gain a dairy farm experience! This is also a new farm business, opening in January 2020! Despite the pandemic, this business venture has gone very well! Folks enjoyed going to a safe place to have a fun and unique experience!

On December 10th, Derrick Perkins talked about his new local food business, One Root. He started this in 2018 after his passion grew for people to become more interactive with the food they eat, the farmers who grow it and the importance of a healthy food system. One Root grows their own food and hosts educational farm dinners near Lamont, Iowa. And to wrap up the seminar, Julie Kenney, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture talked about Iowa Ag’s Response to COVID. She discussed several programs that Iowa developed in response to increased food insecurity related to the pandemic.

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Cedar, Muscatine and Scott Co. WLL Hold Monthly Virtual Events

Prior to the COVID pandemic, the Cedar, Muscatine, and Scott County WLL team held monthly events on the first Friday of each month at a local restaurant. The events included lunch and a presenter on a different topic each month. In November, the team decided to renew this effort virtually with the first monthly event being held on November 6, 2020 from 1-2:30pm. The team utilized their own Facebook page to hold a Facebook Live event.

The event entitled Grow and Share: Update on Programs and Resources included Meghan Bonefas to discuss FSA loans; Cindy and Karen to talk about Rural Development programs; Teresa Wendt to discuss NRCS programs; Emily Swihart to share information from Trees Forever; Teresa Bohman to talk about ISU Extension programs and Lydia Whitman to share Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and Land Stewardship opportunities.

The team is excited to begin the monthly series once again. This event had 6 women participants and was offered at no cost to them. There was also no cost to the team. The next monthly event will be held December 4, 2020 also from 1-2:30pm. Check back here for a report on how that event went!!

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SW Iowa WLL Team Holds Successful Virtual Event

The WLL Team that includes Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page and Pottawattamie counties held a virtual event on November 12, 2020 from 7-8pm on Zoom. The event was entitled Honey Bee Workshop and featured Bountiful Blossoms Bee Company from Glenwood, IA.

Sixteen (16) women enjoyed a wonderful educational session presented by Carol Fassbinder-Orth as she discussed honey bees and especially honey bee viruses and colony collapse disorder. Women learned why and how the honey bee population has declined and some solutions that can be implemented. Carol and her husband operate their farm and the company and Carol is also a Biology Professor at Creighton University. In addition to the educational portion of the virtual event, Carol also took women on a virtual tour of their farm and shop where they sell all kinds of products that include honey.

This event was free to attend and also held no cost for the WLL team, in part because one of their team members had a Zoom account that could be used. The team was pleased with the turnout, although an important thing for other teams to be aware of, is that less than 100% of those that register for a virtual event are likely to actually attend.

Congratulations to the SW Iowa WLL team for a holding a successful and educational Learning Session!!!

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Lease/Rental Agreement and Land Legal Considerations Resources

It’s that time of the year when new or renewed land leases are being considered and negotiated. WFAN has been busy over the past week hosting events discussing important issues related to lease agreements and other land related legal considerations.

It’s that time of the year when new or renewed land leases are being considered and negotiated. WFAN has been busy over the past week hosting events discussing important issues related to lease agreements and other land-related legal considerations.

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Women, Land & Soil Health Resources

AUGUST 10TH WOMEN, LAND AND SOIL HEALTH RESOURCES

On August 10th, Women, Land & Legacy and Women Caring for the Land partnered to host a virtual soil health 101 learning and networking event. 92 participants joined from nearly 30 states, and from a variety of backgrounds and interests. Four presenters shared their expertise including how to do soil health tests at home, programs and technical assistance for installing soil health conservation practices, and working with tenants.

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USDA Announces Details of Direct Assistance to Farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

“America’s farming community is facing an unprecedented situation as our nation tackles the coronavirus. President Trump has authorized USDA to ensure our patriotic farmers, ranchers, and producers are supported and we are moving quickly to open applications to get payments out the door and into the pockets of farmers,” said Secretary Perdue. “These payments will help keep farmers afloat while market demand returns as our nation reopens and recovers. America’s farmers are resilient and will get through this challenge just like they always do with faith, hard work, and determination.”

Beginning May 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

More information including how to apply here.

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Women Landowner Days

The Women, Food & Ag. Network is excited to announce that Women Landowner Dayspepper hallow has moved ONLINE! In partnership with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), we are now offering a free four-part online learning series from July-August 2020 for women who own or manage farmland in Black Hawk County and Polk County, Iowa and are interested in learning about profitable farming methods that can help improve water quality and soil health.

Women from outside Polk and Black Hawk counties are welcome to register, some of the material covered will be specifically catered to women in the watersheds in those counties. Continue reading

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Women Farmers Needed for Study on Stress and Happiness

A new study is seeking women farmers to interview to help understand the causes and soil in handsexperiences of stress and happiness among women farmers. If interested, please read more on eligibility and details about the study. For additional information and to express interest in participation, contact Dr. Carly Nichols (319-467-1728, carly-nichols@uiowa.edu), Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa. Continue reading

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