March 07, 2021

Conservation circle: Farmers gather to learn, network

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — A conservation learning circle for women in agriculture was held at the National No-Tillage Conference.

Panelists discussed the importance of women being involved in conservation and soil health practices. Learn more at

“Women have always had opinions about agriculture, and often have a lot to say about how their farm is run,” said Ashley Brucker, Ohio agricultural stewardship program manager at American Farmland Trust.

“Some are comfortable reading financial books, ordering seeds, scheduling the sprayer. For others, this is an entirely new realm. They’re not sure where to even start.

“When they find themselves in that position, they need resources. The best resource is often others in the same situation. There are so many resource professionals available to assist with technical guidance.”

Here are a few highlights from the panel:

“We love to help each other. I think women especially have a passion, and a passion for each other. We want to help other women succeed. As women, we have an obligation to help each other. We are still a minority in this field. We have a lot to learn and a lot to give.”

Annie Dee, Alabama farmer

2017 No-Till Innovator Award winner

“The point of women-focused outreach is to get all of us together to talk about farming. We want people to know who their resources are, where they can go to find assistance. To connect and network with other women in ag.”

Ashley Brucker, Ohio agricultural stewardship program manager

American Farmland Trust

“We try to create a coffee shop experience for women farmers, landowners and service providers. We focus on lengthy introductions. We try to create a space that’s less hierarchal and more everybody sharing information in a space. We all bring a unique set of information, history and expertise.”

Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, director of Women for the Land initiative

American Farmland Trust

“Unfortunately, I grew up on a family farm where there was not a lot of space for a daughter to join the farm. I had a lot of brothers and male cousins and the farm was going to be theirs. I didn’t even realize my desire or passion to farm. I went to college and starting taking agriculture classes. I realized how much I loved working with farmers and all the things I could do. Trying to impact positive change and conservation focus improvements on the landscape. I graduated with a degree in environmental science and agronomy.”

Stephanie McLain, soil health specialist

Indiana NRCS

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor