Gaining Confidence from AFT Learning Circles
Dena Vittorio left her family’s 240-acre farm in 1978 to begin a career as a church pastor. She and her sister inherited the Indiana farm, which her grandfather founded in 1887, in 2008, and Dena and her husband returned to the farm in 2013.
But the farm she returned to was nothing like what she remembered. She quickly realized that she did not want to emphasize production at the expense of soil health, community life, and profit—but she didn’t feel comfortable seeking advice.
Dena started to read everything she could find about women in agriculture and discovered Women Caring for the Land learning circles, offered by a partnership of agricultural and natural resource conservation agencies and organizations in Indiana called Women4theLand. (AFT is a founding member of Women4theLand.) She attended her first learning circle in August 2018.
In the time since, using the knowledge she gained from the learning circles, she has implemented key conservation techniques, including no till, cover crops, a CRP waterway, and lower inputs through selective usage.