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Manage your farmland intentionally

Responsible land ownership leads to a better agricultural system.

Owning and managing farmland can be a complicated process with few, if any, one-size-fits-all solutions. Communicating with renters, understanding stewardship practices, knowing how to write a farmland lease — nonfarming landowners face these and many other barriers that keep them from realizing their visions for their land.

Practical Farmers of Iowa, Heartland Cooperative, Des Moines Water Works, and Peoples Company are hosting a multipart virtual boot camp designed to share the why, what, when, and how of successful and intentional farmland management.

“All four partners on this project have the ultimate goal of empowering landowners and renters by providing them with an open seat at the table to learn about and discuss on-farm conservation to improve water quality, equitable leasing arrangements, and build healthy communication skills,” says Ruth McCabe, conservation agronomist with Heartland Co-op. “When supported by both renter and landowner, on-farm conservation practice adoption tends to be long-term, and that is what we are aiming for.”

Learn from landowners, farmers, and conservation professionals about successful strategies for implementing conservation and stewardship practices on rented farmland and hear why responsible landownership is so important to building better agriculture in Iowa and across the Midwest.

McCabe says conservation farming practices improve soil health and increase the long-term viability, sustainability, and value of the farm.

“Additionally, when we improve our water quality and our wildlife habitat, we improve the ecosystem services provided to the environment from our farm fields,” McCabe says. “This, in turn, makes for a more beautiful state with more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and engage with nature. In an ideal world, the children of our current non-operating landowners might want to come back home and engage more permanently in their family farms. And nationally, perhaps we can change some of those negative narratives that are being told about our current farming systems to positive stories of change and improvement.”

Workshop #1: Every Farm Matters

Friday, July 30 | Noon-1:30 p.m.

With more and more landowners owning smaller and smaller farms, it can be easy to think that your farmland doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

During this workshop, learn why that’s not true and what it means to be part of a watershed. Hear from fellow landowners about why we should all care about intentional and thoughtful farmland management that prioritizes stewardship.

Workshop #2: Rhythms of Agriculture

Friday, August 6 | Noon-1:30 p.m.

The day-to-day business of running a farm can be mysterious to those who aren’t directly involved with agriculture.

During this workshop, hear from farmers and ag professionals about a year in the decision-making life of a farmer. Learn more about what research tells us about the priorities of both farmers and landowners, and gain an understanding of the resources, experts, and services that farmers use to help make decisions on the farm.

Workshop #3: Strategies & Next Steps

Friday, August 13 | Noon-1:30 p.m.

Taking an active hand in managing farmland can be daunting for many landowners.

In this workshop, learn more about how to build healthy and robust relationships with farmland tenants. Landowners and conservation professionals will highlight best practices for communicating with renters, explore different approaches to farmland leasing, and discuss why building equitable partnerships leads to better farm stewardship.

Workshop #4: Strategies & Next Steps for Women Landowners

Friday, August 20 | Noon-2 p.m.

Managing farmland can be daunting, and women landowners in particular face specific and gender-driven barriers that keep them from achieving their farmland goals.

During this workshop intended for women landowners, learn more about farmland management strategies and next steps. This workshop will overlap slightly with Workshop #3 and includes an additional 30 minutes for discussion and Q&A.

Register for the workshops online at:

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