Fred M. Hall, Chickasaw County Extension Education Director
During Extension Council meetings outlining needed programs and our plan of work, the council identified women landowners and farm women as an underserved audience. A discussion with Lillie Hines (SWCD) and Beth Rachut (NRCS) on putting together a Women, Land and Legacy program in Chickasaw County set the stage for an initial meeting. The initial planning committee included: Connie Straw (FSA), Karen Mashek (Farm), Nancy Griffin (Farm), Julie Offerman (FSA), Karen Lantow (Farm), Sue Benning (Farm), Carolyn Nelson (Farm), Kurt Hoeft (NRCS), Ann Webster (Farm), Beth Rachut (NRCS), Joanne Tupper (Farm), Stefanie Throndson (Farm Bureau) and Lillie Hines (SWCD).
By January the planning committee had met twice formally and had set the first official informational meeting on March 20. The first meeting involved a focused conversation to develop a network of local women to decide what information is needed to make informative decisions about their land. Ideas for topics gleaned from the evaluations after the first meeting included: estate planning, legal, communications, leasing land, cash rent, wills and trusts. Over 60 women attended the first meeting.
The second meeting (first level two meeting) was set for June 26 with a topic of communications. Kendra Crooks, ISUE Youth Development Field Specialist was contracted to put on her Colors presentation plus a panel discussion and Q&A with local women in major business positions discussing rural communication issues. Members of the panel included: Mary Schrandt-Prouty - ISU Extension, Connie Straw and Julie Offerman Farm Service Agency, Laura Schwickerath Five Star Coop, Beth Rachut Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Sherry Mattke Chickasaw County Supervisor. Twenty-nine women participated in the first level two program.
The second level two program was held on August 7 with Robert Tigner, ISU Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, presenting a program entitled From Both Sides of the Fence: Leasing Workshop Targeted for the Farm Woman. Tigners program gave local women the opportunity to learn about current land values, creating lease arrangements, and how to establish a fair rental rate. 47 women participated in the program.
Evaluations from both programs reflected a positive impact from participants. The best test of impact is the increase in older women who gained some insight at the meeting and then have come into the Extension office with additional questions on rents and leases.
While the program has taken a hiatus during the harvest season, the next planning meeting is set for September 17.
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August 3, 2007
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