Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
With thick snow on the ground and frigid temperatures still in the forecast, it may be hard to believe that spring is less than a month away. But this is the time of year when many vegetable farmers are busy starting seeds indoors or in a greenhouse.

Jordan Scheibel, of  Middle Way Farm in Grinnell, posted this photo on his Instagram of perennial onions peeking through leaf mulch under a high tunnel on his farm. The vibrant green and lush leaf litter are cheerful reminders that warmer days are near, and with them, the bountiful season of locally grown food.

Visit our local foods page to find a PFI farmer near you. You can search for keywords, or scroll through the table to find farmers across Iowa raising fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, fiber, flowers and value-added products.

Today also happens to be National CSA Day! Several of the farmers on our list operate CSAs - so if you're thinking of joining one, this may be a good time to make the commitment!
8:30 a.m. | Sioux Center

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Solon

Feb. 26: Social - Flower Farmer Meet-Up
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Solon

7 p.m. | Tune in here!

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Decorah

March 1: Call - Estimating Nitrogen from a Legume Cover Crop or Mix Going to Corn
Noon - 1 p.m. | See details in the blurb below

7:30 - 9 p.m. | Fairfield

7 - 8:30 p.m. | Iowa City

7 - 8:30 p.m.| Jefferson

2 -3:30 p.m. | Ames

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Des Moines

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Algona
Have you considered adding cover crops to your farm and wondered how to get started? Or are you looking to take cover crops to the next level and want to learn from farmers about how they are making it pay today? 

Subscribe to our new email newsletter, "The Practical Cover Cropper," to receive timely information and updates on cover crop management, questions, research, events and more.

You'll receive cover crop content straight from farmers’ observations and on-farm research trials, plus peer-reviewed scientific articles to help you best answer your most pressing cover crop questions. We will also share events and updates about cover crop happenings in Iowa and beyond.

The newsletter will come out once or twice a month, depending on what's timely and relevant. The first issue will go out next week - so sign up today!
Practical Farmers of Iowa's land-matching website, Find A Farmer, connects landowners and land seekers to help preserve family farms. Whether you're looking for farmland to lease or own, or you're a farmland owner hoping to find a new tenant or buyer, this website provides a comfortable place to connect.

Are you considering a career in farming? Do you hope to get paid, on-farm training before you dive in on your own? Our Labor4Learning program is designed for aspiring farmers seeking employment and additional training in farm management and production skills.

Grinnell Heritage Farm is one of 16 trainer farms hiring in 2019. Farmer Andy Dunham says, "If I could give my younger self some advice, it would be to work for other farms for longer than I did. Many of my initial beginning farmer mistakes could have been avoided or much less costly."
Every couple of years we survey those who want to farm, and those who have been farming on their own for 10 or fewer years. This feedback helps us understand your challenges and goals, so we can provide programming to help you succeed. Please take a few minutes to share with us!
Farmland transfer can be a stressful and difficult process without proper consideration and planning. Though every situation is different, early planning and communication in any transfer case can help solve problems before they arise.

Join us for this free farminar to hear from investment advisor Andrew Behnkendorf about what issues need to be considered, and from Stephen and Crystal Riggins about their experience transferring their farm from the previous generation and to the next. Tune in Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Join fellow farmers to discuss the upcoming season, challenges, opportunities and ideas, and to network with other farmers over a cup of coffee and some breakfast.

All meet-ups run from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and are FREE and open to all fruit and vegetable growers. You don’t have to be a PFI member to attend. RSVPs are not necessary. Just show up!

Find an upcoming fruit and vegetable meet-up near you:
Tuesday, Feb. 26 – Solon
Hosted by: Laura Krouse (Abbe Hills Farm)
Salt Fork Kitchen: 112 E Main St.

NEW: Flower Farmer Meet-Up
Tuesday, Feb. 26 – Solon
Hosted by: Molly Schintler (Echollective Farm)
Salt Fork Kitchen: 112 E Main St.

Thursday, Feb. 28 – Decorah
Hosted by: Barb Kraus (Canoe Creek Produce)
Canoe Creek Produce: 2912 Manawa Trail Rd.
Tuesday, March 12 – Des Moines
Hosted by: Jenny Quiner (Dogpatch Urban Gardens) and Angela Tedesco (retired farmer)
HoQ: 303 E 5th St.

Thursday, March 14 – Algona
Hosted by: Joanne Roepke Bode (Bode's Moonlight Gardens)
The Chocolate Season: 16 E. State St.
Come and enjoy coffee and conversations with other PFI members in northwest Iowa! John and Janna Wesselius of the Cornucopia in Sioux Center are hosting. No need to RSVP; please come and enjoy good company.  Read more about this social on Facebook!
Join us next Friday for a shared learning call on estimating nitrogen from a legume cover crop before corn
Join us next Friday, March 1, for a call with Jeremy Gustafson of Boone and Daryl DeGroot of Hull. They will share their experiences with cover crop mixes and a straight underseeding of alfalfa or clover, and how they accounted for the nitrogen those crops produced in order to reduce nitrogen applications to their corn in 2018.

This call will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 1. To join dial (641) 715-3620 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.

Planned performances include:
Friday, March 1 – Fairfield
7:30 p.m. - Fairfield Arts and Convention Center

Friday, March 8 – Iowa City
7 p.m. - Johnson County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall A
RSVP by March 5.

Saturday, March 9 – Jefferson
7 p.m. - History Boy Theatre
RSVP by March 6

Sunday, March 10 – Ames
2 p.m . - Ames Public Library

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.
Looking for more ways to get involved with PFI? Talk to Debra! 
Are you a passionate member of PFI who is interested in getting more involved? We are always seeking ways to connect members to areas they are excited about. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Help us distribute PFI materials at your booth or event - we will send you PFI materials at no cost to you

  • Join our PFI Welcoming Committee and help us welcome new members to PFI through a personal phone call or email

  • Host a PFI social. These gatherings are excellent, informal ways to meet fellow farmers and members in your area, and to introduce new people to PFI.

If you are interested in getting more involved, please email debra@practicalfarmers.org or call the office at (515) 232-5661.
Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice of Wapello were featured in the Savanna Institute's Pioneer Agroforestry farm tour video series.

Kevin and Ranae Dietzel Jewell were featured on WHOtv News: Lost Lake Farm: Unique Iowa Couple Finds Silver Lining in Dark Cloud Over Dairy.

T.D. Holub of Coggon was featured in Iowa Farmer Today: From a quarter acre, Iowa farm overcomes many obstacles to grow.

Ben and Susan Albright of Lytton were featured in Wallaces Farmer: 4 farm couples named to outstanding young farmers list

Jude Becker of Dyersville was featured in Midwest Messenger: Becker retains generations of rural commitment
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.