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  • 2016 Mentoring Program Accepting Applications; Deadline is Feb 19 – WFAN
    to launch our 2016 application process for the Harvesting Our Potential program in Iowa This is a program that helps train women to become farmers by giving them the opportunity to work with women who are already successful farmers Women entering farming are more likely than their male counterparts to first ask how their farms can support their families and their communities This perspective leads to women having farms that are more diverse more likely to grow produce and more likely to raise small animals By supporting women farmers we are not only helping to create entrepreneurs we are helping build community food security bringing more diversity to the landscape and protecting farmland into the future If you re interested in being a part of the 2016 program as either a mentor or a mentee please fill out an application form Women from anywhere in the US may apply to be a mentee but all training will take place in Iowa including work on the mentors farms in Iowa Mentee Application Mentor Application You will receive acknowledgement of receipt when we ve received your application and we will be contacting you in February with potential matches We have the ability

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/2016-mentoring-program-accepting-applications-deadline-is-jan-31/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • Improving Conservation Through Agriculture: A Tale of a Farmer and a Landowner – WFAN
    resource management class he turned everything into a perennial grass based rotational grazing system Deb had always envisioned her CRP land becoming a vegetable farm but she said her thinking was limited by her vegetarian diet and lack of farm experience Her parents purchased her land in Winneshiek County IA when she was growing up as place where if the world goes to hell at least the family will have a place they can go and feed themselves She said her parents remembered the Great Depression and believed land was the greatest asset I want to steward the land in a way that reflected my family s values Deb said But she didn t grow up on a farm her work experience is in dental public health and policy She didn t really know what farm management would entail My dad spent any recreation time he had here His love of the land and wildlife really influenced my conservation ethic She said she knew she wanted to steward the land in a way that would give back to nature but it wasn t until she heard Kayla talk about her plan that things clicked Kayla and her partner Landon Corlett had moved to Decorah IA with a plan to rent expiring CRP land for rotational grazing While waiting for an opportunity to rent land they are both working off farm and saving to build a tiny house that will allow them to move to wherever they end up They re the dream partners because they ve done a lot of things to get them in the place to make this happen They ve developed skills It s like everything has brought them to this said Deb Kayla never really left farm life behind She attended Grinnell College and studied international agriculture and rural development a major she designed herself that consisted of biology anthropology and political science courses She traveled extensively in college spending time on Vandana Shiva s farm in northern India and studying abroad in Mongolia to learn about grazing systems and pastoralism After school she did an AmeriCorps project teaching kids in Clayton County schools about food and nutrition Following that she and Landon went to New Zealand to work on farms for several months After returning to Iowa they moved to Decorah to figure out what they were going to do with themselves The whole contract grazing idea has come about because that s what I ve done and that s what I know said Kayla but also from a deep concern for land stewardship and human nutrition The possibility that the Omega 3 s in grass fed beef can help fight obesity can be anti carcinogenic and are extremely nutrient dense those are things I think are really important For some people they want to farm and they pick an enterprise For me I m interested in this facet of land stewardship and this facet of human nutrition she said She feels that part of

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/improving-conservation-through-agriculture-a-tale-of-two-landowners/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • Phyllis McCain Restoring Her Farm from Soil Up – WFAN
    as they are mature and need to be thinned New shelterbelts will be planted in the future Meanwhile she and Wyman have also restored all the buildings The farmhouse built in the 1890s was in bad shape With the help of good carpenters they have replaced windows lowered ceilings insulated put on siding and added a deck They also built a new garage and restored two other outbuildings Restoring depleted farmland isn t new to the McCains They own a ranch 50 miles away in Knox County where they first kept a small herd of stock cows and dairy cows because that s all the land would support Over the years they have seeded that ground to grass and can now take in 130 cow calf pairs each spring rotationally grazing them through a series of 20 paddocks The cattle s owner lives nearby and watches over the property while Wyman helps Phyllis with the work on her family homestead One of the most challenging things about managing my family land is doing something in a man s world Phyllis says Some men tend to not listen or pay attention You really have to say I m the boss This is my place I m paying for this you will do as I say Phyllis says she has a good relationship with her current renter who manages and harvests the hay As soon as the grass is well established she wants to rent her land as pasture to bring cattle onto the farm My land was farmed out she says and I know it s not going to get any better until I get cattle back on the land to put some organic matter back into the soil Other plans for the farm s future Phyllis would like to build

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/phyllis-mccain-restoring-her-farm-from-soil-up/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • Retracing the Steps – WFAN
    Nebraska Tim and I were going to church in Utica where I grew up However after I met Deb helping her do cattle one day the conversation we had in the field made Tim and me decide to starting going to their church said Stephanie So it s really become more of a friendship than just a mentorship We see them on Sunday they re part of our life We talk to them about things other than the farm Learning to Farm Deb and Dave keep twelve cattle on the Bertagnoli s pasture and have been teaching Stephanie and Tim about raising cattle and broiler chickens When the young couple first moved to Nebraska they hoped to focus on raising animals which is what West Blue Farm specializes in but after their daughter Mabel was born they realized livestock would limit their mobility The young couple has decided to start a fruit orchard on their property and have plans to do broiler chickens in the future which the couple will only have to care for during part of the year rather than year round Deb said she and Dave learned a lot from their relationships with other farmers especially through the Organic Crop Improvement Association She said that while Stephanie and Tim are taking a different approach to their farm there is still a lot of support they can provide as mentors There are several resources they ve been able to connect the Bertagnoli s to both in the community and on the farm The networking and the amount of resources that we found through Deb and Dave CFRA and WFAN we had no idea a lot of these things existed said Stephanie And there s something about a women s perspective especially when you re a young mother that makes it more approachable WFAN s Program Coordinator Lynn Heuss said that s exactly what the organization strives to provide One of the primary parts of the WFAN mission is to create and foster relationships that can help educate and empower women in farming and other agricultural enterprises she said This is a big task that is much more likely to be accomplished through good partnerships like the one we have with the Center Both organizations want to be available to create opportunities for women to get information and make connections in order to pursue their dreams with all the resources they need for success Motherhood and Farming It was starting their own family that changed the way Deb and Dave farmed We were somewhat conventional until we started having kids she said At that point my husband didn t want to handle the chemicals so we decided organic would be the way to go Stephanie said having Deb s support has been valuable as she and Tim have tried to figure out how they could start a farm and a family It s just been nice to have someone to bounce those ideas off of she said Last year

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/retracing-the-steps/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • Training new women farmers at Mustard Seed Community Farm – WFAN
    t know as much as I do said Elena That s even happened on the farm a little bit The guys not intentionally assumed a position of authority Milli and I brought it up to them and they apologized They didn t realize it was happening Now we make sure we are more assertive Milli and Elena agreed they felt more comfortable speaking up on the farm since they have a woman as a mentor Milli said she felt it was especially important for young women to work on their assertiveness and that the skill bleeds into all aspects of her life You learn what kind of problems you can just let go of and what kind of problems you need to work through and you really learn how to do that here said Milli A Supportive Community I wouldn t have been able to become a farmer if other farmers hadn t taught me what they knew Alice said It s important for me to be able to mentor beginning women farmers I just want to encourage women in any way I can to be leaders and entrepreneurs whether they re farming or not When she was starting out Alice looked for a formal internship with Gary Guthrie who has managed Growing Harmony Farm near Nevada IA since 1997 She took it upon herself to be part of every aspect of the farming process from planning to planting It was through his encouragement as a mentor that she started her own farm She emphasized how important it is to have community as a farmer Elena said while she attends Iowa State University one of the nation s largest ag schools there aren t very many women ag professors and not very many people working in non conventional ag It s hard to find that support It s hard to be a woman farming in Iowa hard to be doing non conventional and hard to be a beginner who doesn t come from a farm family Alice said I think these things need extra support She said in her experience farming in Iowa is a very male dominated culture and while the men she interacts with are respectful she doesn t always feel they think of her as intelligent competent or a decision maker The supportive community at Mustard Seed helps these young women on and off the farm Alice isn t just a boss she s also a friend said Elena During the school year she called me just to check in and see how I was doing She really cares about us and gets to know us personally said Elena There s constantly people coming and going here she continued You have to interact with people and build relationships that s really helped me She explained that prior to coming to the farm she had undergone some personal struggles and the farm helped her build positive and supportive relationships Gains for the Future Alice has been involved with

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/training-new-women-farmers-at-mustard-seed-community-farm/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • A Broken Hand, a Future Woman Farmer, and a Dream – WFAN
    didn t have a broken hand but they had their own obstacles on the road to becoming farm hers Before the agenda even began I was already feeling excited and inspired about my future farming in Iowa The conversations continued in our larger group as we informally shared our goals dreams and fears These conversations happened throughout the day as I heard like minded women talk about how they tackled pest control using organic methods how they dealt with landowners or disgruntled family members or how they were creating a profitable business plan As much as I love pursuing a career as a single woman farmer it can be a lonely pursuit The learning circle provided a welcoming community for each of us to dream big and say our scary goals out loud I think we learned as much from each other as we did from the resource professionals in the circle To assist us in achieving our goals WFAN brought in several resource providers to discuss business planning farm education conservation planning legal considerations farm succession planning funding for beginning farmers and cost share opportunities I left the workshop with several things to follow up on such as Start my own business plan with resources such Paul Dietmann s Fearless Farm Finances book which was recommended multiple times throughout the learning circle I hope to create my own business plan this fall before enrolling a business planning course this winter Start early with a separate bank account and record keeping system for the business Have the staff of the USDA s Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS come look at my property to advise me on conservation practices Subscribe to the Acreage Living Newsletter through ISU Extension s Value Added Ag program and check out their new podcast series as

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/a-broken-hand-a-future-woman-farmer-and-a-dream/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • Event for Women Who Want to Farm: June 25 in Story City, Iowa – WFAN
    Annual Conference WFAN Annual Conferences WISA National Conferences News Event for Women Who Want to Farm June 25 in Story City Iowa Are you secretly interested in farming If you re a woman who has been thinking about farming we have a great opportunity for you to explore that possibility There are so many different things to think about business plans financing land purchase legal responsibilities what to grow who to sell it to marketing food safety regulations and the list goes on Have I got a deal for you On June 25 there will be an informal but highly informational gathering at the Fairview Lodge in Story City We ll start the day getting to know each other and then we ll listen to resource people share information about many of the topics mentioned above Finally we ll head off on a short trip to two farms with women in leadership positions Mustard Seed Farm and Lacewing Acres Registration and a light breakfast begin at 8 30 We ll begin promptly at 9 with a break for a delicious box lunch served by Story County Locker and we won t let you go home without something for your sweet

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/event-for-women-who-want-to-farm-june-25-in-story-city-iowa/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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  • Our Beginning Women Farmer Program, Harvesting Our Potential, Kicks Off for the Season – WFAN
    were meeting for the first time while others were reconnecting after having participated in the program during its first two years One of the comments about the best part of the gathering was The networking was great and the presentations were extremely education Loved the food and the location When you re at Whiterock Conservancy with a host like Liz Garst you can t help but have a great experience This program is an opportunity for women who are interested in or just beginning their own farm enterprises to work side by side with women farmers who are not only successful farmers but are also successful business entrepreneurs These pairs of women will work together for several weeks during the growing season Despite some claims to the contrary it is still important to get your hands in the dirt But it is also about getting your head in the books Farming is a way of life AND a business Thankfully we were also able to hear Ed Cox an attorney share information about many of the legal issues that do not need to be overwhelming but must be considered in order to have a successful operation There was not a

    Original URL path: http://www.wfan.org/our-beginning-women-farmer-program-harvesting-our-potential-kicks-off-for-the-season-2/?full-site=true (2016-04-30)
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