FARGO, N.D. — With a goal of supporting women to better understand soil health, an informational workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 21 starting at 6 pm at the Northern Crops Institute on the North Dakota State University campus. This event, free and open to women farmers and landowners of all experience levels, especially beginning, will provide various conservation resources as well as opportunities to connect directly with professionals and area women farmers successfully implementing conservation practices.
“This event will create a unique and very welcoming space for women farmers to ask questions and access resources that historically they have not utilized,” shares Noreen Thomas, owner of Doubting Thomas Farm in Moorhead, Minnesota and host of this event. “Gathering groups of women together like this to share our mutual passion for soil health and stewarding the land along with exchanging knowledge and our personal experiences is inspiring and empowering, especially for beginning farmers starting out.”
This workshop is part of Conservation Connections, a project led by Renewing the Countryside (RTC) and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA) in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with a mission to support historically underserved farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin and build connections between these farmers and resource support. The project uniquely utilizes a “boots in the field” team of twelve Connectors, including Thomas, to assist these farmers to tap into information and opportunities that support conservation and soil health to create a more successful farm businesses.
The September 21 event will kick off at 6 pm with a tour of the Northern Crops Institute followed by three area women farmers sharing their experiences implementing conservation practices and how to apply for NRCS programs.
“As a beginning farmer myself, I so appreciate these opportunities to connect with other area women who are kindred spirits in our commitment to stewarding our land for future generations,” shares Melany Thomas of Sunrise Organics Farm, who will be sharing her story on using the NRCS EQIP Clean Water Certification. Verna Kragnes of Prairie Rose Farm will also be sharing their experiences “Agency resources like NRCS and other women farmer mentors have played an important role in my farm journey and I’m excited to create this opportunity for others.”
“Conservation Connections provides support to historically underserved farmer groups including African Americans, Asian, Latino, Indigenous, veterans and beginning farmers,” shares Jan Joannides, executive director of Renewing the Countryside and lead on this project. “Our goal is to use farmer-to-farmer education like this field day with Noreen Thomas to help expand awareness of programs and resources available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that foster more successful farm businesses and at the same time steward the land.”
The event is free to attend and all farmers and landowners are welcome. Registration is appreciated to email@example.com but walk-ups are welcome. Event location: Northern Crops Institute, Bolley Drive, Fargo, ND 58105 (on the North Dakota State University Campus). Look for directional signs. Event will follow current COVID-19 protocols from both CDC and Minnesota protocols.
Renewing the Countryside is a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen rural areas by championing and supporting rural communities, farmers, artists, entrepreneurs, educators, activists and other people who are renewing the countryside through sustainable and innovative initiatives, businesses, and projects. The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota advances environmental stewardship, economic resilience and strong, diverse communities through farmer-to-farmer networking, education, demonstration and research. This project is made possible with funding support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
— Renewing the Countryside and Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota