Blog

From Hawai’i to Iowa: Climate Land Leader Sylvia Spalding

Sylvia Spalding brings a unique background to Climate Land Leaders. A long-time resident of Honolulu, she spent a career in fisheries management in the Pacific Islands and today is bringing insights from that career to her stewardship of family land in Mahaska County, Iowa. Sylvia’s family’s history on the land dates back to 1843, when…

What should be included in the next Farm Bill?

Totaling $428 billion in funding, the Farm Bill includes nutrition programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) that provide food access for low-income families, risk management programs like crop insurance and disaster assistance, resources for starting and growing a farming operation, and support for conservation and sustainable farming practices on land. The next Farm Bill…

Tree planting anyone? Anyone?

Dear Friends, Glenn and I begin to feel like farmers – you know, those sturdy people who have to brave all kinds of weather to plant their crops and feed their animals no matter what! Despite six (yes, 6!) inches of rainfall in Minnesota this past weekend we managed to plant 250 trees in a riparian buffer and 26…

Inspiring conservation goals in 2022

Each year Climate Land Leaders commit to on-farm conservation steps that will result in reduced emissions, carbon drawdown, improved water quality, increased biodiversity and improved human well-being on their land and in their communities. This year’s array of goals is ambitious and inspiring, including: making changes in cultivation and grazing practices on working lands; reintroduction…

To CRP or not? Climate Land Leaders weigh in on this federal conservation program

Climate Land Leaders are big users of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) — and full of opinions about the program’s benefits and how it could be improved. CRP is a non-working lands program,” Maggie McQuown, Resilient Farms, Red Oak, Iowa, explains. “In other words, land with a five-year, or more, cropping history is taken out…

Growing a regenerative farming business, providing ecosystem services: Jóia Food Farm

Wendy Johnson recently presented at the 2022 Sustainable Farming Association Annual Conference. Wendy Johnson is a farmer and climate land leader stewarding land that is the ancestral home of the Ioway, Wahpeton, Oceti Sakowin Sioux, Sauk, Meskwaki, and Winnebago peoples. Wendy’s relationship with this land goes back to her great-grandparents, German immigrants who after years…  Read More

Climate Land Leaders Turns Two

In early 2020, we were planning the final details of an in-person launch of Climate Land Leaders. And then COVID hit. We quickly moved the launch to Zoom, and, in March, a group of 20 gathered to share about the land they owned, the conservation they had completed — and their plans to do more.…

Letting go of the land for the next generation

Climate Land Leader Paula Westmoreland talks about her history with Iowa farmland and her plans to devote the proceeds of that land’s sale to regeneration and equity. I grew up on a farm in the prairie pothole region of northwestern Iowa near Storm Lake. Dad bought 240 acres in 1955 and by the time I…

Chronic wet periods hinder Midwest vegetable production

Climate Land Leaders frequently come together to learn from each other and from experts in climate-friendly agriculture. Jack Hedin of Featherstone Farm is both a Climate Land Leader and veteran vegetable farmer in southeast Minnesota, and he recently joined the group for an illuminating conversation about growing commercial vegetables as the climate changes. Here we’ll…