Women in Wisconsin are commanding more and more attention as decision makers in agriculture and conservation.
A new initiative called Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC) brings together women landowners throughout the state to network with each other and with state and local agencies and experts. Kriss Marion from the Wisconsin Farmers Union is helping spread the message about the coalition they’re building.
This unique three-year initiative will collaboratively engage women landowners across the state through workshops, field days, farm tours, mentorships, a newsletter and learning opportunities. Workshops begin March and April on Zoom and registration is now open at WiWiC.org.
Women landowners are a growing demographic. The 2017 Census recorded 38,509 female producers in Wisconsin, showing that women make up 35 percent of all producers in the state. “That’s a 16 percent increase in the number of female producers from the 2012 census,” shares Project Director Esther Shekinah of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.
A team of “boots in the field” Regional Coordinators will focus on eighteen counties across the state to bring women landowners together to network and share resources as well as connect with NRCS agency staff and programs. Women can also sign up to be mentored by “Conservation Coaches” – experienced women landowners. Women outside of the focus counties are also welcome to participate.
“Through this new partnership venture, we are very excited to extend our resources and further connect and support women landowners throughout Wisconsin,” explains Angela Biggs, NRCS Wisconsin State Conservationist. “Our peer-based learning circle models are successfully bringing women together in a space that promotes collaborative learning, relationship building and support. Through this effort, we aim to help women in their unique conservation goals, while strengthening the long-term environmental health of Wisconsin.”
“I’m looking forward to bringing together women in my region on an on-going basis for the next three years and be able to grow relationships based on a shared commitment to stewarding the land,” adds Kirsten Slaughter with the Wisconsin Farmers Union and a regional coordinator for the project. “Having a collaborative network to turn to with questions and for support celebrates that ability women have to learn through connecting.”
For more information on upcoming March events and to register for the statewide newsletter: www.wiwic.org. Wisconsin Women in Conservation is also on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.