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Women invited to discussion, tour

(CIFN file photo)

More than one million women now operate American farms, as a growing number of women inherit, start or take charge of working farms every day. In the Midwest, women now own or co-own an estimated one-fourth to one-half of all the farmland.

To reach the growing number of women landowners interested in farming practices that benefit the health of their land, American Farmland Trust and Livingston County Soil & Water Conservation District are hosting a free conservation discussion and field tour for women farmland owners on June 27 at the Saunemin Village Community Building (70 North Street, Saunemin, IL 61769).

The Vermilion River basin is one of the five highest nitrate-yielding watersheds in Illinois, yet no one purposely wants to fertilize the river! The primary topic of discussion on June 27 will be on how nutrients move through our crops and soil, and how we can keep them where we want them. This workshop brings together landowners in an informal setting for a women-only morning discussion followed by lunch and a bus tour to view on-farm practices.

Female conservation professionals will be on hand to answer questions and share resources. The key topic of discussion will be watersheds and water quality, government cost-share programs and talking with farm tenants about management practices.

“Women farmland owners and operators may not be aware of all the programs and resources available to them,” says Jennifer Filipiak, associate Midwest director of American Farmland Trust. “Our goal is to connect the growing number of women landowners with each other and with the resource professionals who can help them with their stewardship goals.”

The meeting is presented in partnership with the Vermilion Headwaters Watershed Partnership led by Livingston and Ford Counties Soil & Water Conservation Districts, American Farmland Trust and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“According to the USDA Agricultural Census (2012) 70% of the farmland in our area is rented,” notes Becky Taylor, Resource Conservationist for Livingston County Soil & Water Conservation District. “One of our goals with the watershed project is to engage non-operating farmland owners in addition to farm operators in discussions about conservation practices that help with water quality but don’t impact farm profitability.”

On June 27, coffee and registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 9. Lunch is provided at no cost to participants, and the program will end at 3 p.m.

Interested women landowners and operators can RSVP by 4:00 p.m. June 23 by following this link: . You may also register via phone or email to Becky Taylor, Livingston County SWCD at or 815/844-6127, Ext. 3.

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