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Women key players in farm production

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 11:47 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Women who own or manage farmland in DeKalb and surrounding counties are invited to participate in a free conservation discussion and field tour on March 31 in Sycamore. The program is called Women Caring for the Land, and is sponsored by a sustainability grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Nearly half the farmland in Illinois is owned or co-owned by women. Many women wonder whether they are doing all they can to improve soil and water quality while maintaining high agricultural productivity. Many are unsure of exactly how to reach their conservation goals and what resources are available to help them. If they are leasing their farmland, they wonder how best to discuss their concerns and goals with their tenants.

“This workshop offers a unique opportunity for women landowners to come together to share and learn about land conservation options,” said Dan Kenney of the DeKalb County Farmland Foundation.

Women Caring for the Land offers a women-only peer-to-peer, informal discussion format to allow women landowners to talk about their individual land stewardship goals and share information with one another. Women conservationists will help facilitate the discussion and share resources such as USDA cost-share programs and other tools.

“We know that if we aren’t explicitly including women in the conversation, then we are, in effect, excluding them,” said Jennifer Filipiak, AFT’s Natural Resource Conservationist. “Our goal is to make sure conservation opportunities are equally accessible to women owners and operators.“

The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau building, 1350 W. Prairie Drive, Sycamore. Continental breakfast and refreshments are included. The meeting will wrap up at noon, and an optional field tour will wrap up at 3 p.m.

Space is limited. For questions, or to RSVP, call or email Teresa Bullock, American Farmland Trust, at 815-753-6365 or tbullock@niu.edu.

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