North Central SARE Online Course/Curriculum
Women Caring for the Land: Improving Conservation Outreach to Female Non-Operator Farmland Owners Curriculum Manual
The percentage of women who are sole landowners is rising as women inherit land from husbands and fathers. Many women express strong conservation values in meetings and surveys, but are often unsure of how to turn those values into action as they have not been involved in farm management decisions in the past.
Women farmland owners are a vital segment of the conservation partnership across the country. According to Women Caring for the Land, if Midwestern conservation partners can more effectively serve this segment of landowners before the land transitions again over the next decade, the positive impact on our land, water and air will be tremendous.
This SARE-supported curriculum manual is intended to give users an overview of the rationale and methodology for targeting outreach to non-operator women landowners, particularly those 65 and older who now control a significant percentage of US farmland. It also provides a number of conservation demonstration activities, which range from very simple to more complex, both in concept and execution, including cover crops. It describes various elements of the Women Caring for the Land learning circles methodology, and provides conservation educational activities designed for women landowners, which any agency or non-profit may use in whole or in part to improve their conservation outreach to women farmland owners.
Fifteen women landowner meetings were held in IA, NE, and WI over the in association with the development of this manual. 118 women landowners attended, who owned a total of 24,300 acres in the region. Follow-up surveys show that 52 percent of the women who responded had made at least one change in farm management to improve soil and water conservation on their land within 6 to 12 months of attending a meeting.
"We are already seeing the benefits of conservation outreach to women farmland owners as we hear stories from conservation professionals and women themselves who have developed new relationships with their tenants and resource persons as a result of the meetings, and are taking steps to transform their land," said Leigh Adcock Executive Director of the Women, Food & Agriculture Network.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) LNC10-317, Developing a Conservation Education and Outreach Program Targeted at Women Farmland Owners in IA, NE, and WI.
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These products were developed with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within these products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.