‘Soil Health on Women’s Land’ Oct. 22 near Chatfield

CHATFIELD, Minn. — Women farmers and landowners will delve into the science of soil at a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) workshop Thursday, Oct. 22, on a farm near Chatfield. “Soil Health on Women’s Land” will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Sweetbend Farm, 29692 Harrow Rd. An optional potluck lunch starts at noon. The cost is $20. To RSVP, contact LSP’s Caroline van Schaik at 507-523-3366 or caroline@landstewardshipproject.org.

DIRECTIONS: From H52 in Chatfield turn east on MN30/MN74 for 4.1 miles, then right on MN30 for 3.7 miles. Make a left to remain on MN30, drive 1.5 miles and take a right on Co. Hwy. 21 for 2.8 miles where it becomes Harrow Rd. Drive 0.5 miles to the farm on the right. Watch for LSP signs.

Participants are invited to bring a golf ball-sized clump of their soil, dried, to test for aggregate stability as part of the program with guest presenter Dan Nath, a soil scientist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Nath will explain and demonstrate how soil, roots and residue interact, using a rain simulator to illustrate his points.

Women will also have a chance to use a soil probe, test for soil compaction and discuss management practices that lead to better soil, cleaner water, improved wildlife habitat and more money from farming. Questions such as, "Why do roots matter?" and "How do I know if I have healthy soil?" will be addressed in a friendly and informative environment.

“Women learn differently,” said van Schaik. “But as farmers and landowners, they are just as eager to make good decisions about their land as the men who more typically attend farm-related meetings. There won’t be any need to take a back seat at this workshop.”

Sweetbend Farm sits on the Root River and host Karen Heimdahl and her husband Andy raise bees and hops while experimenting with cover crops. The farm tour will include a short walk to the Root River.

This gathering is another in a series of workshops designed by LSP to empower women farmers and landowners as they match their values with their farming and conservation practices. Funding is provided in part by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.