On December 3, 2018, LWV Upper Mississippi River Region held their bi-monthly Board meeting at the Coralville Public Library, in Johnson County, Iowa. The educational event after the Board meeting featured speakers from the Woman, Food and Agriculture Network, and the Izaak Walton League. These organizations, along with the LWV Upper Mississippi River Region, are reaching out to absentee landowners - people who rent farmland for others to farm.
Throughout the Midwest, absentee landownership of farm land is common. In some places, more than half the farmland is rented. The management of this land is critical - land owners must work with their renters to develop contracts that reward good stewardship and build soil health. How should these discussions be framed? How can the renter protect both the rented land and his bottom line? What will be the farming legacy of these rented lands?
The Izaak Walton League (aka "the Ikes") received a grant from the McKnight Foundation and is developing workshops to provide landowners with this information. The LWV UMRR is working with the Ikes in our four-state area, with a goal of finding member Leagues to work with local Ike chapters put on these workshops throughout the watershed.
The goal is to provide these landowners with tools and support to help them work with their renters to build soil health and improve the environmental performance of their farms. Here's the video from the presentation in Coralville. Our speakers, left to right, are Chris Henning from the Women Food and Agriculture Network, Mike Delaney from the Izaak Walton League and Lonni McCauley from the LWV Upper Mississippi River Region Inter League Organization.
LWV UMRR is also working with the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota. Here, a series of three meetings will occur in January, with follow up meetings planned for February. LWV'ers will be helping with these meetings, which will be be a good way to build LWV knowledge as well.