Meet Climate Land Leaders

Carol Bouska, Peg Bouska, Sally McCoy, Ann Novak (MN, IA, WI and WA)

The Bouska sisters’ land has been in the family since 1903. Most of the farm is in conventional row crop production, but the Bouskas’ vision is to convert the land to a regenerative agriculture model in 10 years. Their farming partner has planted cover crops, and the sisters have installed pollinator fields, grassed waterways, maintained a woodlot and planted extensive trees, restored a wetland and added prairie strips around the perimeter of their farm, among other actions. The sisters have worked hard on their legacy goals “to find our common themes and speak as one voice to the next generation.”

Joe and Sylvia Luetmer (MN)

Joe and Sylvia Luetmer own four farms and have sold a fifth to help beginning farmers get started. They have undertaken extensive restoration work of prairies, woodlands and grasslands. “Our vision is to protect existing natural areas, re-establish native prairies and wetlands, build soil biology on retained croplands, and transition land to young farm families. Our goal is to prevent farmland from being developed into low-density suburban sprawl and small farms from being consolidated into ‘corporate’ farms with the home sites being sold off separately.”

Photo by Ruth Rabinowitz

Meg and Glenn Nielsen (WI)

Meg and Glenn inherited land that has been in Meg’s family since 1903. They are working with their tenant to plant cover crops, and they are moving conventional corn and soybean acres to grass for grazing and planting nut trees, berry bushes and more. “We would like to make our land an oasis in the monoculture desert for wildlife, birds, insects and bees. We hope to make enough money to pay the taxes and our long-term care insurance and make some continued changes towards sequestering carbon in the ground.”

Maggie McQuown and Steve Turman (IA)

Maggie and Steve’s farm has been in Maggie’s family for more than 120 years. They have no-till corn and soybeans with cover crops and have won awards for their conservation practices, which include: Woods, riparian wooded/prairie buffer, prairie strips and pollinator plots, contour strips, grass waterways and grasslands. They also grow vegetables for the Red Oak Farmers Market. “We want to move from two-crop production to regenerative farm practices and a low/zero energy footprint. We are most interested in raising nutrient-dense, local/regional food.”

Beth Singleton and Rupert Cooper (MN)

When Beth and Rupert purchased their farm in 2020, much of the land was in conventional corn and soybean rotation. They have planted the crop ground to alfalfa and clover and are caring for new tree plantings, a wetland and woodlands. “Our goals are to repair the depleted soil, minimize erosion, eliminate chemical fertilizer and pesticide, and sequester carbon while producing food for ourselves and others. To us, that means establishing an economically viable prairie and oak savannah through planting fruit, oak, hazelnut and maple trees, berry shrubs, berry patches, native forbs, and grasses.”