Fresno-area farmers face water management and business viability challenges like never before, but financial and technical resources are available to help growers and landowners navigate these challenges. American Farmland Trust is partnering with the Sierra Resource Conservation District and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to gather women in agriculture around these issues and feature services they can lean on at a Women for the Land Learning Circle and Resource Fair on Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m in Fresno.
At this women-centered gathering, growers, landowners and others involved in agriculture will be able to share experiences, while agricultural resource providers will describe local services that support the viability of agriculture and agricultural communities. The event has been co-designed with input from a broad range of partners in the region to reach a diversity of communities engaged in Fresno agriculture, according to Caitlin Joseph, AFT’s Women for the Land Program and Policy Manager. As such, multilingual resources will be provided in English, Spanish, Hmong and Punjabi, as needed.
“AFT is excited to bolster the work of local RCDs, NRCS staff and others, by partnering on this free event for women producers and landowners, applying a peer-to-peer learning model we have utilized nationally to great effect,” says Joseph. “In addition to a farm tour led by Lilian Yang, one of the region’s innovative Hmong women farmers, there will be discussions on how the drought is impacting water and land use in the San Joaquin Valley, and what is still needed to support farm viability throughout these changes. Through our Women for the Land Initiative, we have found that learning in this type of environment can really drive women farmers to take action to support their operations.”
“Sierra RCD is thrilled to offer this space for women farmers to build relationships with service providers who can help them access financial and technical resources,” says Karin Roux, District Development Manager at Sierra Resource Conservation District. “We are particularly interested in the powerful ways that AFT’s peer-to-peer learning will help women hear directly from each other on the unique challenges and successes they are experiencing farming here in the Central Valley, and receive first–hand accounts of technical and financial assistance opportunities available to improve their farms’ water efficiency and resilience.”
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advancing environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) mission is “Helping People Help the Land.” NRCS helps America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners conserve the nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.
The Sierra Resource Conservation District (Sierra RCD) is a non-regulatory, non-taxing, nonprofit, Special District of the State of California; the mission and function of the Sierra RCD is to take available technical, financial, and educational resources, whatever their source, and focus or coordinate them at the local level, to meet the present and future natural resource needs of the local land user. Offices are in Auberry and Fresno, CA. More information can be found at www.sierrarcd.com
Sierra RCD service area covers the eastern half of Fresno County and has two main programs in operation that interact with local land users and landowners: the Forestry and Watershed Program which predominantly focuses within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Agriculture and Rangeland Program which focuses within the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Central Valley floor.