Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
This week we kicked off the spring cover crop field day series. On Wednesday, Will Cannon of Prairie City showed us an NRCS trial plot featuring a side-by-side comparison of cover crop varieties and application methods. Will also presented his keys to success for incorporating cover crops into the rotation.
In this photo, Curt Donohue of Jasper County NRCS discusses the trial with attendees.

There are two more cover crop field days next week in Osage and Epworth. The Orange City field day on April 3 has been cancelled. Scroll down this e-mail for more details on upcoming field days.
One of the first questions farmers have when they consider trying out a new crop is – is there a market for it? Will it be profitable? This is particularly the case in the corn belt, where markets for corn and soybeans are abundant and nearby, but markets for crops like oats, wheat and barley are not so obvious. Using data Practical Farmers of Iowa collected from farmers who participated in small grains cost share we were able to develop several enterprise budgets for small grains production in rotation with corn and other crops. 
Despite the benefits of cover crops, the direct costs associated with establishing and managing them remain a barrier to adoption for many corn and soybean growers across the Midwest. This research takes a look at how cover crops could reduce herbicide costs in soybeans, enough to cover the costs of cover crop establishment without sacrificing weed control or soybean yield.
Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a diligent, respectful and passionate person to join our strategic initiatives team.
Do you or someone you know have journalism or communications experience that could help farmers tell their stories?
We are seeking a responsible and committed person to help with mailings, membership database updates, answering phones and other office tasks. 
Join the Habitat Program Steering Committee!
This new committee will meet online and in-person to brainstorm, discuss and help guide the development of our habitat programming. Because habitat is a broad topic, we are seeking an equally diverse group of members with a range of interests related to on-farm habitat and ecological restoration. You do not need to be an expert in on-farm habitat to serve on this committee; we only ask that you have an interest in shaping how PFI can best serve farmers and landowners on these issues.

If you are interested, please contact Jorgen Rose at (515) 232-5661 or jorgen@practicalfarmers.org.
Jon Bakehouse of Maple Edge farm in southwest Iowa is one of many trainer farms in PFI's Labor4Learning program. Jon is willing to hire an aspiring farmer and provide additional training on what it takes to run a diversified crop and livestock farm business such as his.

"I'm part of Labor4Learning because I want everyone who wants to get started in farming to have a clear avenue to success. The partnership between Labor4Learning participants, farmers and PFI provides this."
If you're someone who plans to farm in the future, or has farmed on your own for 10 years or less, we need you to help guide our programming. Thank you to everyone who has shared with us already, but we need more voices!

We'll do a drawing for all responses that come in between now and April 2 for a PFI swag bag, including a PFI tote, clothing, stickers and a copy of "Building a Sustainable Business."

Our 2019 spring cover crop field day series has begun! We hope you'll join us to learn about cover crops and how they can be used in crop and livestock systems. The series continues next week on April 2 in Osage and runs through June, with events planned for locations across Iowa.

Farmers and community members are invited to learn about a variety of cover crop issues, from varieties and planting strategies to equipment, grazing and harvest options, as well as various practices farmers use to maximize the financial return from cover crops.

All field days in the series run from 4 to 7 p.m., and are free and open to everyone.
Cover crop field day

April 2 – Osage

April 3 – Orange City

April 4 – Epworth

June 4 – La Porte City
Join our shared learning call on April 5 to learn about scouting and treating disease in small grains
A key aspect of producing small grains that achieve market quality for test weight or germination is managing disease appropriately. Dr. Emmanuel Byamukama, a small grains plant pathologist from South Dakota State University, will join us on April 5 to discuss disease management for small grains, including when to scout, what to look for, what the key windows are for fungicide application and which fungicide applications have a positive return on investment.

This call will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, April 5.

To join, dial (605) 313-5071 and enter passcode 357330# when prompted.
Practical Farmers of Iowa and Center for Rural Affairs are partnering to bring several performances of “ Map of My Kingdom,” a play that explores some of the thorny issues surrounding farmland transfer decisions, to communities across Iowa in March and April.

Admission is FREE, and all performances will feature a talk-back with the audience afterwards led by either playwright Mary Swander or PFI staff. RSVPs are requested for some locations.

Upcoming performances include:
Thursday, April 11 – Okoboji
7 p.m. - Pearson Lakes Art Center

  • Note: A free farmland legacy letter workshop will be held on Friday, April 12, at 11 a.m., at the nearby Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Attendance at both events is encouraged, but not required.

Saturday, April 13 – Waterloo
2 p.m. - Grout Museum of History and Science
RSVP by April 9.
April 2: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Osage

April 3: Field Day - CANCELLED

April 4: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Epworth

April 5: Call - Small Grains
Noon - 1 p.m.
7 p.m | Okoboji

April 12: Workshop - Farmland Legacy Letter Workshop
11 a.m. | Milford

2 p.m. | Waterloo
Andy Johnson of Decorah and Kamyar Enshayan of Cedar Falls were featured in Iowa Farmer Today: Economics, stewardship raise solar’s appeal for farms.

Mary Swander of Kalona and Sally Worley of Grimes were featured on the New Food Economy: Why transitioning a farm from one generation to the next is trickier than ever.

Jon Kiel of Orange City was featured in The N'West Iowa REVIEW: Orange City man sees cover crop benefits.

Lee Tesdell of Slater was featured in 4RPlus's Blog: Edge of Field Practices Enhance Water Quality.
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.