Women Coaching Women

Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC), a new state-wide coalition of landowners and conservation agencies, is offering a free on-line “Spring Into Conservation!” workshop on April 7 from 12 to 1:30pm. The virtual event aims to connect female farmers and landowners in Marathon, Portage, Shawano and surrounding counties who are interested in learning more about land stewardship or in sharing their own expertise. All interested women are welcome. The live Zoom will feature a presentation on soil health by Jamie Patton, UW Extension, and Amy Neigum, District Conservationist from Marathon County USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. Registration is open until April 6 at www.wiwic.org.

The April Zoom event will also feature local Conservation Coaches who will mentor women
landowners who want to learn more about land, water and wildlife stewardship, and sustainable
or regenerative agriculture practices. WiWiC Conservation Coaches include: Rachel Bouressa
of Bouressa Family Farm in New London, Stacey Botsford of Red Door Family Farm in Athens,
Patti Schevers of Schevers Farm outside of Green Bay, and Valerie Dantoin, a organic dairy
farmer from Seymour.

Schevers is the fourth generation on her 100-acre farm, and raises poultry and vegetables,
along with renting 3 “glamper” campsites. “My goal, with support and agreement from my
mother, sister, and aunt is to transition the entire property into native grasses, pollinator habitat,
wildlife corridors, and pond scrapes for waterfowl. The reasoning is to utilize our little ‘block’ of
land to be a place for our family to enjoy and nature to flourish for generations to come,” says
Schevers. “The original farm deed was in my great-grandmother’s name after my great-
grandfather passed in 1922, then transitioned to her son, and then to my father until 1997, when
it returned to women management with my mother. I am proud to be the next generation of
women to steer this property into a completely different future.”

“I believe that as farmers, we have an incredible role and responsibility to be stewards of the

“I am really excited to take part in this project. I think there is so much power in creating
networks of women across the state who are able to learn with, and from each other,” said

Women landowners and farm operators are a growing demographic in Wisconsin. The 2017
Census recorded 38,509 female producers in Wisconsin, showing that women make up 35
percent of all producers in the state. Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC) is a broad
state-wide coalition of organizations dedicated to sustainable agriculture and conservation
education, with funding from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute as the lead is partnering with the Wisconsin Farmers Union,
Renewing the Countryside, E Resources Group, and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable
Education Service (MOSES).

The WiWiC group hopes to build networks of women that will help each other find technical
assistance and possibly funding to put more conservation practices in place on their land. The
group also plans to do topical virtual workshops through the summer and an in-person farm field
day in the fall. This unique three-year initiative will foster networks through a newsletter and
other learning opportunities. Sign up for workshops or the newsletter at www.wiwic.org, and
follow the group on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
For more information on the April 7 workshop, contact Kirsten Slaughter at 608-514-2031 or