Unapologetically Rural: Family Farming & Ranching

With your help, we reached women landowners owning a combined 14,000 acres of land. These landowners see the economic value of using practices like cover crops on their land. This story from our Annual Report tells you more.

Walk into a small town cafe or gas station early in the morning. You’re likely to see a group of older male farmers shooting the breeze. Though the topic of their conversations may seem trivial, the existence of a meeting place allows for the exchange of information about business and farming practices.

Unfortunately, women landowners don’t have a similar tradition of regular discussions to share news and information. Recognizing this need, we teamed up with the Women, Food and Agriculture Network to create a learning and sharing venue.

This summer we hosted three Women Caring for the Land workshops, covering key land management and conservation topics. Some of the women attending had known each other for decades while others met for the first time. The women-only environment created a rich, comfortable setting for them to ask questions and discuss ideas.

Attendees built relationships with their peers as well as local conservation and farming professionals. As a result several landowners implemented conservation practices on their farms, including developing grass waterways and rotational grazing.

Alexandra McClanahan attended the workshop. She said, “I get a chance to meet like-minded women. The workshops offer information that encourages even better stewardship of the land. That’s what it’s all about. We all want to protect the land and our rural way of life.”

Highlights of 2014

  • Our policy team fought to support family farms and ranches and beginning farmers in the 2014 farm bill. Beginning farmer training programs were renewed for $20 million annually.
  • Over 40 military veterans attended workshops and tours in Missouri to learn about farm startup resources.
  • 21 Latino farmers attended in-depth classes on financial planning and community resources. Graduates took the new information and applied for USDA loans.

You can view more of the Center's 2014 annual report here.

Feature image: Audrey Dohma and Catherine Duggan head to a farm tour as part of a Women Caring for the Land workshop. | Photo by Virginia Meyer