Mom, Apple Pie and Conservation:

June 22 Women’s Only Conservation Tour Set for North Central Kansas

A women’s only conservation tour, “Mom, Apple Pie and Conservation”, will be held Saturday, June 22, covering conservation practices on the Lucinda and Sheila Stuenkel farm along the Washington and Clay county line in north central Kansas.

            The tour will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will begin at the Stuenkel’s farmstead at 

1835 Parallel Road

, Palmer, Ks. (See directions below). Attendees will travel to the Linn American Legion for lunch and a series of presentations in the afternoon.

The tour is sponsored by the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) as part of its Women and Conservation Project. Co-sponsors include the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops at KSU, River Valley Extension District Kansas State University Research and Extension, and Tuttle Creek WRAPS.

Registration at the farmstead begins at 8:30 a.m. with the tour and presentations starting at 9 a.m. A trailer with seats will carry participants to the various sites on the farm.  

Lunch will be held at noon at the Linn American Legion, 100 5th Street, (west side of Hwy 15) Linn, Ks. followed by presentations on cost-share programs, soil health, cover crops, and a roundtable discussion “From a Woman’s Perspective”.

“This tour/learning circle workshop is for women landowners, or farm wives and daughters, who have not had as much direct involvement in the farm management, as they’d like. Or maybe they are simply not as familiar with conservation practices and programs as they would like,” stated Mary Fund, coordinator for theKansas Rural Center‘s Women and Conservation Project. “Or maybe they are women farmers but are interested in learning more about conservation practices.”

            “Statistics show that women often end up the landowners or heirs to farmland, but lack the knowledge of farming practices and conservation programs to make good management decisions or work with tenants and other heirs. There are also more and more women farmers directly managing the farm,” Fund explained. ” Research has shown that women feel more comfortable asking questions around other women. In our other tours, women have all liked the women only format. We hope this tour will provide a comfortable setting for women to share information, ask questions and pick up practical pointers for managing their farms.”

            “The Stuenkel farm is an excellent example of women having to take over the farm’s management, as Lucinda and Sheila lost their husbands (brothers) in a vehicle accident over two years ago, leaving them to take over the joint farming operation,” stated Mary Howell, KRC Field Coordinator in KRC’s Clean Water Farm Project, who has worked with the Stuenkels on their conservation practices. “They have worked hard to preserve the farm, and make the right decisions and keep it all in the family.”

            Conservation practices on the morning tour include: a relocated winter cattle-feeding site (up out of flood plain), maternity barn (designed from a woman’s perspective for ease of management); fencing of expired CRP; alternative livestock watering systems and rotational grazing; rock check dams and streambank armor; sediment basins; cover crops, and more.  

            Will Boyer, KSU Watershed Specialist, and Tom Meek, Clay County Conservation District, will be on hand to help answer questions and provide resource information during the tour. Lucinda Stuenkel says she has a rainy or wet day tour agenda and a no rain tour planned, so the tour can go forward regardless.

            The group will travel to the American Legion in Linn for lunch at noon followed by several presentations. Tom Meek will discuss available state and federal cost-share and assistance programs. Lisa French of Cheney Lake Project will demonstrate run off and sedimentation via a tabletop rainfall simulator. Mary Fund, KRC, and Lisa French will facilitate “From a Woman’s Perspective” roundtable discussion about conservation and management challenges and questions, and identify other information and resource needs for women in farming.

            Wrapping up the day will be a Cover Crop 101 presentation with Dale Stickler, Star Seed, on why cover crops are important to soil health and conservation, basic cover crops used in the area, forage cover crops, and how you can adopt cover crops into your farming operation. The day will end with the USDA NRCS Soil Tunnel Trailer, a walk-in experience of the soil layers showing root and microbial action, hosted by Tom Meek, Clay County Conservation District.

            Registration: The tour/workshop and lunch are free to participants who pre-register by June 20, 2013. For more information, and to pre-register, contact Mary Fund or Diane Dysart at the Kansas Rural Center at 785-873-3431, or [email protected] or [email protected].

            Directions to Lucinda Stuenkel’s’s farm:  

From Washington, Ks. Hwy 15 & 36 Junction, go 19 miles south, (or from Clay Center, Ks. Hwy 15 and 24 junction, go north 12 miles). Turn East on Clay County 30th Road (aka 362 or Fact Road) for 3 miles, then North 1 mile on Quail Rd., and East 1.5 miles on Parallel Rd.; Or from Hwy 119 or Utah Road: Turn West on Clay County 30th Road (aka 362 or Fact Road) for 4 miles, then 1 mile North on Quail Rd., and 1.5 miles East on Parallel Rd. at a tan ranch house with a green mailbox. Attendees should park in the barnyard or along any of the three driveways. Stuenkel cautions to not use your GPS directions, as it will take you down roads unsuitable for cars.

            Funding for the workshop comes from a USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant to the Women Food and Agriculture Network and Center for Rural Affairs sub-contracted to the Kansas Rural Center, and from the Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.