Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Meet Practical Farmers' newest staff members!

On the left is Jacqueline Venner Senske, our new horticulture coordinator. Jacqueline will work with PFI staff, farmers and members to host farmer-led educational events and develop networks in the PFI community for farmers growing horticulture crops, including fruits and vegetables, nuts, cut flowers, berries and orchard crops.

On the right is Lara Schenck, our new strategic initiatives manager. She will support the strategic initiatives team by leading grant management and reporting, and managing small grains and cover crop programs, budgets and staff.
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.

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.

This award is granted annually by PFI to landowners who use their land to help the next generation get started, advance land stewardship and promote long-term sustainability of farm businesses, environmental quality and rural communities.

Please nominate non-operator landowners who have had a positive impact on the agricultural landscape, rural communities or opportunities for beginning farmers.

Nominations are due Friday, March 5, and the nomination process is very easy!
Missed the conference or want to revisit some of the sessions from the virtual annual conference?

All of the session recordings are now online and available to view!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, check the video archive on our website or head to our annual conference page to watch.
New research from PFI's Cooperators' Program:
Articles from the winter magazine:
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.

En la comunidad latina el interés por la agricultura es fuerte, pero las vías para empezar no son claros. Como entrenador agrícola del Latino Economic Development Center en Minnesota, Rodrigo compartirá su experiencia operando una granja de vegetales orgánicos de 46 acres en Turtle Creek, Wisconsin. Únase con Rodrigo en este seminario mientras él comparte cómo planifica sus temporadas de producción, cómo accedió a la tierra y comercializa sus cultivos con una cooperativa.
March 9 | 7-8:30 p.m. CST

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

Learn more from Kelsey Fleming, a private lands biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 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.
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 9: Farminar - Using EQIP for Habitat
7-8:30 p.m. | Online

6:30-8 p.m. | Online

March 12: Virtual Hort Meet-Up- How are you Managing Weeds?
4-5 p.m. | Online

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
Members in the News
Mitchell Hora of Brighton was featured in a guest column written by Wayne Fredericks of Osage, IA in the Des Moines Register: Iowa needs to help farmers take the plunge and take action on soil health

Wendy Johnson of Charles City, IA, was mentioned in Charles City Press: Tree-tapping time at Tosanak

Mark and Melanie Peterson of Stanton, IA, were featured in Green Lands Blue Waters' series: Continuous Living Cover - Bent Gate Farm

Maggie McQuown and Steve Turman of Red Oak, IA, were featured on Farmers.gov: Fridays on the Farm: Preserving a Century Farm with Conservation
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.