By Samantha Dame, Farm Bill Biologist II – Indiana
Since starting on the conservation career path, I’ve been happy and excited to see more women in the field. What has also impressed me is the number of initiatives, including our organization's own Women on the Wing initiative, that focus on involving and engaging female landowners and conservationists.
According to American Farmland Trust, 240 million acres of farmland are expected to change owners in the next two decades as aging farmers retire or leave their land to the next generation. One report predicts that women may own 75 percent of this transferred farmland. Many of these women may not have been involved in farm management or farm operations decisions in the past.
One group we've had the opportunity to partner with in Indiana, Women4theLand, has set out to provide information, networking, education and resources to women landowners and farmers. Recently I was fortunate to co-facilitate a Women’s Learning Circle event. The learning circle model provides a comfortable, informal setting where participating women are the experts on their own land and conservation needs.
The topics for our learning circle were pollinators and cover crops. We started the day with introductions, then moved through a combination of informal educational talks and thought-provoking activities.
The real treat of the day was the afternoon field trip to the farm of local woman Kaitlyn to observe the benefits of pollinator habitat and cover crops firsthand. I aspire to be a woman landowner in the future. At every Women’s Learning Circle event I attend, I learn just as much as I teach, which is why I feel that Women4theLand’s motto couldn’t be any more fitting: “Everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to share.”
This story originally appeared in the 2021 Fall Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Pheasants Forever member today!
To learn more about Pheasants Forever's Women on the Wing initiative and landowner outreach opportunities, visit pheasantsforever.org/wotw.