HURON, S.D. – Learning Circles, a different kind of meeting aimed at helping women landowners learn more about caring for their land, will be held for South Dakota women landowners this July in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Mitchell.

“The meetings are designed specifically for women land owners who don’t operate their land,” says Angela Ehlers, executive director for the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts (SDACD). “Women who may have recently inherited farmland, or are feeling overwhelmed with all the decisions of farmland management will find this event especially helpful. It’s a beginning level informational meeting; no prior knowledge of farmland management is required.”

Meetings are scheduled for Aberdeen on July 16; Mitchell on July 17; and Sioux Falls on July 18. Each meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m.

“Women landowners who attend this meeting will learn to assess and improve the health of their soil,” says meeting facilitator Carol Schutte, a representative of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. “These meetings are different than most information meetings, and that’s on purpose. Many female landowners have never attended a meeting about their farm, let alone one specific to soil health. Many might not know where to go or what questions to ask about their farmland management. These meetings are a way to help them feel comfortable asking questions, and to introduce them to women resource professionals who can help them make informed decisions on how their land is managed.”

Space will be limited to about 20 women landowners at each meeting, and pre-registration by July 11 is required. The meetings are free, with lunch provided.

“The informal atmosphere of a learning circle allows discussion and interaction with women conservation professionals who can help with landowners’ management goals,” Ehlers says. Among those professionals will be conservationists from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. “These meetings are part of an outreach the NRCS and conservation districts in South Dakota are making to non-operator landowners across the state, to offer information and support for soil health practices and more interaction with owners and tenants,” says NRCS State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich. “Landowners in particular have a lot to gain from regenerating healthy soils.”

Contact your local conservation district or NRCS office, or visit www.nolosd.org for more information and to register. Contact Carol Schutte at carol@wfan.org or 641-430-2540 with questions.

The meetings are made possible through funding from a Conservation Collaboration Grant Agreement with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in South Dakota. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Women, Food and Agriculture Network is a non-profit, educational organization formed in 1997 to provide networking, information and leadership development opportunities to women involved in all aspects of sustainable agriculture. The meetings are part of WFAN’s Women Caring for the Land program. Learn more at www.wfan.org, or by calling Carol at 641-430-2540.

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