Women Farmland Owners Invited to Discuss Grasslands, Conservation Reserve Program April 1
Posted: 03/24/2011

CHARITON - Women who own or manage farmland in Lucas, Wayne, Clarke and neighboring counties are invited to participate in a free conservation grasslands discussion and field tour April 1 in Chariton.

"Grasslands are a vital part of both our natural and economic communities," said Helga Offenburger, wildlife specialist at the DNR Chariton office. "Well managed, they provide excellent wildlife habitat and improved water quality. This will be a day for women to learn and discuss conservation options available on their land.

"As women now own or co-own nearly half the farmland in Iowa, and often express strong conservation values, we want to help them know where to find available resources and reach their conservation goals," said Jean Eells, program evaluator for Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

The April event will help women explore options and talk to each other about maintaining their grasslands. Women conservationists and landowners will also share their experiences. They will be a resource on management options, including grazing, haying and the ongoing sign up for the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) ending April 15. Other resources, such as cost-share programs, state loans and other tools will be available.

The event is open to owners, operators and inheritors of farmland, regardless of their knowledge about conservation. Lunch is free, but reservations are required for an accurate meal count. If planning to attend, please RSVP by March 29 to the Lucas County Conservation Board at 641-774-2438 or lucasccb@iowatelecom.net.

Registration and coffee begin at 9 a.m. at Pin Oak Lodge, 45996 State Hwy 14 near Chariton. Discussion begins at 9:30 a.m. and includes how grasslands help control erosion and improve water quality. Two women landowners will share their personal experiences in managing livestock and enrolling land in CRP.

Transportation is free for an afternoon field trip to look at conservation practices in the area. The meeting will end at the lodge with a short wrap-up before 3 p.m.

This session is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; in partnership with Women, Food and Agriculture Network; the Chariton Valley RC and D; and the Lucas County Conservation Board.

While the program is aimed primarily at women landowners, it is open for anyone to learn basic information about grasslands and the Conservation Reserve Program. More meetings about the general CRP signup can be found on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/crp.html. Learn more about WFAN at www.wfan.org.