Agriculture & Natural Resource
Non Technical Summary
The 2017 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure survey shows 47% of all acres and 55% of allleased acres in Iowa were owned by women. These landowners represent a significant yetoverlooked group in U.S. agriculture. Many women have limited farming experience. A 2020 Iowa survey of women indicated 93% were interested in educational opportunities to help themmanage farmland they own and 89% agreed increased knowledge and confidence will increasetheir involvement in decision-making. There is a critical need for research and extension directedtowards these influential landowners.Our goals are to research the needs of women landowners and offer extension and outreach onthree interwoven farm management tasks:1) Use of equitable leases and other legal or economic incentives to increase conservationand land access to beginning farmers, 2)Adoption of soil and water conservation practices, and 3)Implementation of efficient plans to transition farmland to next generation owners.This research and extension project leads to empowered women landowners who canenhance long-term agricultural sustainability. With greater knowledge and confidence, womencan be effective change agents for improved farmland leasing and access, adoption ofconservation practices, and more efficient land transition to next-generation farmers.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
Women landowners have significant and increasing roles in U.S. agriculture. The 2017 IowaFarmland Ownership and Tenure Survey (IFOTS) shows 47 percent of all acres and 55 percentof all leased acres in Iowa are owned by women (Zhang, Plastina, and Sawadgo 2018a). Womenlandowners face particular challenges in land management decisions, especially regarding landleasing, conservation, and ownership transitions. Well documented hurdles facing womenlandowners include a reduced propensity of male tenants to adopt women landowners' proposedconservation practices and women landowners' less frequent interactions with local extensionagents (Petrzelka and Sorensen 2014). There is a critical need for research and extensionactivities targeting these influential decision-makers.The mission of the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Women in Ag Program is toimprove the quality of life in Iowa by providing research-based educational resources andprograms that expand agricultural business, improve natural resource management and supportthe community of women in agriculture.Our goals with this project are to research the needs of women landowners and offer extensionand outreach on three interwoven farm management tasks:Use of equitable leases and other legal or economic incentives to increase conservationand land access to beginning farmers,Adoption of soil and water conservation practices, andImplementation of efficient plans to transition farmland to next generation owners.Specifically, our 3-year project objectives are to: 1. Conduct data-mining and baseline survey research, develop representative womenlandowner types, and identify their educational needs. Lead: Zhang. 2. Involve stakeholders in the design of online and face-to-face educational resources andexperiences through advisory committees, focus groups and interviews. Developresearch-based educational materials focusing on farmland leasing, conservation, and ownership transition. Leads: Tidgren, Benning and O'Rourke.3. Schedule online and face-to-face events and promote online and print resources. Connectwith women landowners. Lead: Scarbrough.4. Deliver 21 (7 each year) multi-session workshops reaching 300 (100 each year) womenlandowners Leads: O'Rourke, Benning and Tidgren.5. Use evaluation to inform continuous program improvement. Evaluate impacts usingcourse surveys and Ripple Effects Mapping focus groups. Lead: Hyde.This research and extension project will lead to empowered women landowners. All Iowansbenefit when women landowners are supported in improving the three pillars of agriculturalsustainability: economy, environment and community. With greater knowledge and confidence,women can be effective change agents for more equitable farmland leasing and access, adoptionof conservation practices, and greater efficiencies in land transition to next-generation farmers.
Methods for Objective 1 include conducting data-mining and baseline survey research, developing representative women landowner types, and identifying their educational needs.The team will determine baseline characteristics of landowner types that can serveas the basis for appropriate educational content. An extensive survey will allow us to identifyeducational needs and preferred delivery method by landowner types in order to increaseeffectiveness and develop relevant case studies.Methods for Objective 2 include involvingstakeholders in the design of online and face-to-face educationalresources and experiences through advisory committees, focus groups and interviews. We will develop research-based educational materials focusing on farmland leasing, conservation,and ownership transition. We will create research-based educational resources addressing economic, legal,conservation, succession and other challenges; and tailored to womenlandowners for distribution through the preferred delivery methods.Methods for Objective 3 include schedulingonline and face-to-face events and promotingonline and printresources. We will connect with women landowners. We will collaborate with USDA, county extension professionals, and women in agricultureorganizations to access, recruit, and educate women landowners. We will interact with stakeholdersthrough advisory committees and other means. Finally, we will plan for age and gender related preferences (an example may be larger print handouts).Methods for Objective 4 inclucde delivering 21 (7 each year) multi-session workshops reaching 300 (100 each year)women landowners.We will inform delivery partners. Innovate delivery to serve landowner types for otherspecific needs (e.g., facilitate webinars or summer events for out-of-state landowners). We will implement contingency plans for alternative outreach if the current global pandemic continues tolimit face-to-face programs; as well as foster relationships through multiple interactions.Methods forObjective 5 include conducting evaluation to inform continuous program improvement through course surveys and focus groups.The team will document changes in knowledge and behavior via pre-course and post-course surveys. We will research impacts via Ripple Effects Mapping focus groups andpersonal interviews. The team will share women's success stories and analyze futureprogramming needs.