‘Managing for Stewardship’ Workshops to Explore Conservation Farming Needs on Rented Farmland Jan. 24 & Feb. 1

Do you own farmland and want to make sure it is taken care of using good stewardship practices? Two “Managing for Stewardship” workshops are being presented in Minnesota this winter by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and the Upper Mississippi Region of the League of Women Voters. These workshops are for farmland owners, retired farm men and women, and those inheriting a farmland investment. The workshops will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at Valley Community Presbyterian Church, 3100 Lilac Drive, Golden Valley, and Thursday, Feb. 1, at Peace United Methodist Church, 52497 275th Ave., Elgin. Each workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. The cost is $15 and includes a noon meal and toolkit. To register, contact LSP at 612-722-6377 or 507-523-3366.

Attendees will receive a toolkit of resources and ideas for farmland owners, tips for improving communication between owners and renters, and information on the new Minnesota tax credit for selling/renting to beginning farmers. Key discussion points include:

  • What is the farmland legacy you will leave for the next generation?
  • How do we enhance the productive value of farmland?
  • Balancing short-term returns with investing in farmland as a productive asset.
  • What’s the relationship between soil health, water quality and climate change?
  • Creating opportunities for young farmers on the land.

The keynote speaker at the Golden Valley workshop is Kristin Brennan, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service assistant state soil scientist for Minnesota. The keynote speaker at the Elgin workshop is Audrey Arner, a farmer and conservationist from Montevideo. The speakers will address what soil health means, why landowners should care about it, and what they can do to improve their soil health.

The workshops will also feature a panel discussion. The Golden Valley panel will include Brian Axdahl, who grows several hundred acres of sweet corn and institutes soil health and conservation practices on rented land with a five-year lease, and Juliet Tomkins, a landowner who has been leasing acres to various beginning farmers during the past few years. The Elgin panel will include Chatfield landowner and farmer Erwin Frederichs, and Elgin conservation farmers Eric and Lisa Klein. In addition, Olmsted County Soil and Water Conservation District technician Angela White will participate in the panel.