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WI Women in Conservation Take Movement to Next Level


Monday, October 25, 2021   

MADISON, Wis. - Efforts continue to close the conservation gap for women landowners in Wisconsin. This week, organizers say the movement is taking a giant leap by adopting a statewide approach to provide education.

On Thursday, a virtual event signifies the launch of an educator network, to include helpful voices from all over Wisconsin. So far this year, the coalition leading the outreach has hosted workshops with a more regional feel.

Kriss Marion, communications lead for the group Wisconsin Women in Conservation, said they're looking to build on those sessions with this week's event.

"We've been doing research after every one of those events," said Marion, "surveys and questions to learn what is working and what isn't working."

She said those findings will be presented, and there will still be opportunities for regional discussions.

The 2017 Census of Agriculture says women make up 35% of farmers in Wisconsin, which is higher than the national average. But conservation programs have skewed toward men.

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is the leading partner for this new outreach effort.

Marion said women have traditionally been underserved by state and federal conservation offices, but there are visible signs of progress.

"For instance, a lot more women are actually working in county land conservation departments," said Marion. "A lot more women are the NRCS agents that are on the ground."

She was referring to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which plays a key role in connecting farmers and landowners with cost-share incentives to adopt environmentally friendly practices that improve soil health and help their bottom line as well.

The coalition says it's time for women landowners to secure those financial benefits. This week's virtual kick off begins at 10 a.m, and organizers hope to schedule more of these meet-ups annually.

More information is on the Wisconsin Women in Conservation website.

Disclosure: Michael Fields Agricultural Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Rural/Farming, Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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