Women, Land, and Legacy Program Provides Women with Farm Management Education

Amber Matthiesen, Jackson County Extension Education Director, Southeast Area


Approximately 630 women own Jackson County farm ground either individually or in partnership.  As more married men have gone to work off the farm, women have had to take on more responsibility with the farming operation.  Women need to understand and comprehend farming concepts and procedures in order to make informed decisions.  This was an issue facing many women in our rural county. 


The Women, Land, and Legacy Program was identified to help increase the skills and knowledge of these women to make them feel comfortable and competent in making farming decisions.  This program is a partnership between ISU Extension, Natural Resources and Conservation Services (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Limestone Bluffs RC&D in Jackson County.  These agencies work with a core group of women to plan the events. 

A Level 1 meeting was conducted with the State Outreach Coordinator who facilitated a conversation with 66 women to address their perceptions and needs.  From the input learned through this meeting the core group and partnering agencies developed a plan for programming.

The first program focused on USDA programs and services.  Directors from ISU Extension, NRCS, FSA, and Limestone Bluffs RC&D presented information on programs and services through their agency.  35 women were present for this program.  During this meeting there were many questions concerning land rent and leases.  This led the group to host a land leasing meeting for women. 

ISU Extension Farm Management Specialist led the Farmland Leasing workshop to 52 participants.  This was an opportunity for women to learn about items such as land lease agreements, lease terminations, and laws affecting leases.


During the Level 1 meeting, the most common educational opportunities identified as a need for women were land use planning, marketing, inheritance and estate planning, legal issues, and USDA farm programs.  Agency staff have heard women say this is a program we needed a long time ago in Jackson County.  Here is a statement that exhibits the change in women in the county.

The NRCS office has had a significant increase in women coming into the office to ask questions.  They seem to feel more comfortable in taking an active role in working with their land.-Lori Harris, NRCS Director

In regards to the leasing meeting here is a quote from a participant in knowledge they gained.

The ISU Extension Farmland Leasing Workshop thoroughly covered the many leasing options and resources available.  Designed for use by farmland owners, tenants, and ag professionals, the "Farm Leasing Arrangements" booklet offers a compact package for those wanting a current comprehensive set of leasing publications for reference to leasing questions." -Donnelle Kilburg

The Women, Land, and Legacy Program has been a successful program in the first year of implementation and will continue to improve the lives of farm women in the future.

120 Farm and Business Management

Page last updated: September 28, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu