Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.

We’ve all shared in the past year’s long, strange and challenging journey of isolation, distance and sacrifice, with gatherings postponed, rituals upended and connection confined to screens.

But as winter thaws give way to the warmth of spring – and with it, the dappled green of new growth, the cheerful chatter of birds bustling in trees and hedgerows and the promise of abundance from fields and gardens – our thoughts turn to journeys of a more joyous kind.

We’ve had plenty of time away. Now, it’s time to get out of our homes and catch up with friends and neighbors, farm fellows and family near and far. This year, PFI is planning a series of small, energizing, in-person gatherings on farms across Iowa.

We’re starting the planning now, but the line-up will expand on a rolling basis throughout the summer as more pop-up, local events are organized.

Cooperator Jill Beebout of Chariton, Iowa, sought to determine the impact of fabric or straw mulch on tomato yield and labor spent prepping beds, weeding and cleaning up the beds.

A replicated plot design was used to compare the performance of fabric and straw that involved eight different varieties of tomato.

Are you looking to get paid, on-the-job training with experienced farmers in Iowa?

The Labor4Learning program is designed for beginning farmers seeking employment and additional training in farm management and production skills.

Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking an outgoing and dedicated professional to join our staff as livestock coordinator.

The livestock coordinator will work closely with many types of farmers, enterprises and systems, including conventional and organic, medium- and small-scale livestock farmers and graziers comprising beef, swine, sheep, goat, poultry and dairy farmers.

Working lands conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program can be powerful tools for farmers and landowners interested in restoring wildlife habitat.

On Tuesday, Kelsey Fleming, a private lands biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and landower Don Eyerly of Madison County, Iowa, talked about how programs like EQIP can provide landowners with financial assistance for wildlife conservation on their farms
Before the last of the snow melts, fine-tune your spring cover crop plan and double-down on cutting unnecessary expenses.

During this two-hour boot camp, we’ll hear presentations from Chad Bell and Rebecca Clay on cover crop economics, followed by Q&A.

Then we’ll listen as experienced cover cropper Nathan Anderson and new cover crop user Keaton Krueger discuss planter set-up, nitrogen, planting green and one another’s cover crop challenges and ideas.
Pollinators face many threats, including a changing climate.

During this farminar, learn more from Xerces Society climate change lead, Angela Laws, about how climate change impacts pollinators.

Then hear from Sarah Nizzi, Xerces Society farm bill pollinator conservation planner and NRCS partner biologist, about the cost-share and technical assistance programs that can help you sustain pollinators on your farm.
Attend weekly meet-ups to learn from others and share your spring field crop management expertise. Discussion topics will vary from week to week, but may include: cover crops, small grains, legume cover crops, herbicide or tillage termination, organic cover crops, grazing cover crops, summer silage, nitrogen placement, manure application and how these aspects affect corn or soybean production.

Farmers, bring your thoughts and questions; we’ll work together to try to address as many as we can. For those with cows that are calving, wear your headset in the barn and dial in to join us – no need to be in front of the computer!
Join fellow horticultural farmers on Fridays from 4-5 p.m. CST for a series of virtual meet-ups to close out the winter!

These events are FREE and open to all growers. You don’t have to be a PFI member to attend. If you grow annual vegetables, perennial fruits, nuts or cut flowers – or if you direct-market other products (meat, cheese, etc.), and these topics look interesting – please join us!
March 16: Workshop - Cover Crop Boot Camp
10 a.m.-Noon | Online

March 16: Farminar - Pollinators & Climate Change
7-8:30 p.m. | Online

6:30-8 p.m. | Online
March 19: Virtual Hort Meet-Up- Apple Grower Meet-Up
4-5 p.m. | Online

6:30-8 p.m. | Online

March 26: Virtual Hort Meet-Up- Cut-Flower Farmer Meet-Up
4-5 p.m. | Online
Members in the News
Sarah Hargreaves of Aylmer, Ontario, and Stefan Gailans of Ames, IA, were featured in Farmtario: Why on-farm research continues to grow

Cait Caughey of Mondamin, IA, was featured on NPR's Morning Edition: Young Farmers Face A Barrier Their Parents Didn't: Student Loan Debt

Helen Gunderson of Ames, IA, and Cornelia Flora of Ames, IA, were featured on Iowa State University Library's website: The Road I Grew Up On: Requiem for a Vanishing Era, a conversation with author Helen Gunderson

Jim Freeland, who owns farmland near Corning, IA, wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Adams County Free Press: The greening of winter
PFI in the News
Practical Farmers of Iowa was mentioned in the Red Oak Express: Secretary Naig Encourages Farmers to Create a Spring Cover Crop Management Plan
Have you been featured in the media? Tell us when and where to find a link to the article, and we'll feature you in a future issue of Practical News.