Summer 2016 : E-Newsletter

The Conservation Cultivator

Welcome -- 

Here we are, already at the edition of our quarterly Women in Ag Newsletter Soil Sisters: Conservation Harvest, focused on women farmland owners, women farmers, and those devoted to the conservation of our farmland!

Please encourage your friends and colleagues to join the list. Remember, we'll just send out quarterly emails like this one, and we will not sell or share your email address. Enjoy!

The Buzz About Buffers


Buffers, also known as filter strips, are an important tool in the soil and water conservation tool box.  They are typically located along streams, rivers and lakes to slow the flow of water from the surrounding landscape and filter out pollutants such as phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment found in the runoff after snow melt and rain events.  They also help to stabilize shorelines during flood events provided they have plants with good root structures.  Buffers can be grasses, trees or even crops such as alfalfa.  Some are native plants but not all. Minnesota has actually had a law requiring shoreland (aka riparian) buffers since 1989 but knowledge about the law and enforcement was spotty at best.  It was time for a reboot. More here...

Conservation Expert Profilekathryn-kelly.jpg

Today we are highlighting one of the women SWCD Supervisors who is truly “outstanding in her field”. Dr. Kathryn Kelly has served in this role in Renville County for many years.  She is a retired professional educator, having served on the Education Department faculty at St. Cloud State University.  

She has owned farmland for much of her life but now lives “in town”  in Olivia, Minnesota. Kathryn’s passion for involvement and protecting natural resources began at an early age. She notes “My father was the impetus for my involvement. He led by example through his work in early adoption of conservation practices."

 More here...



Farmer Profilesara.jpg

Just about all farm women plant seeds and harvest crops, as does Sara Freid on her diversified operation in Lake City, Minnesota. However, dig a little deeper into Sara’s story and you quickly see she’s growing more than dinner on her land, she’s cultivating change. 

“As a Catholic Worker Farm, our operation carries on the lay movement started by Dorothy Day during the Depression in the 1930s, a woman who grew disappointed in the church’s non- presence working to address issues of the day such as hunger and homelessness,” explains Sara.
More here...

Workshop Updates


As the warm spring sunshine and rains were waking up the landscape women landowners and farmers gathered together for something most have never done before.  They gathered to meet other women like them, learn about healthy soil and actions that can be taken to nurture their land, meet women whose job it is to assist, and view examples on the landscape to spur actions. They gathered from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences: farm wives, mothers, teachers, nurses, active farmers (row crop to organic vegetables), retired farmers living in town, and the list goes on.  They shared a desire to better understand how farming affects their land, how to protect and improve the soil, and leave a legacy for their heirs.  More here...

Recipe Corner

Peaches and Blueberry Oatmeal. “This is one of our favorite go-to’s for a special breakfast and my husband’s request for his birthday and Father’s Day. You can experiment with other fruit also, but this combination is delicious.” For the full breakdown, click here for more!

Thanks for keeping in touch!

Jan, Beth, Lisa, and Grace