Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Across Iowa, the land is thawing, snow is dwindling and crop fields are once again visible as winter wanes and spring draws near (just one week away!). Soon, cover crops will sprout and green will return to the landscape.

Spring also heralds the start of Practical Farmers' spring cover crop field day series!

The first event in the series will take place March 26, hosted by Brent Larson who farms near Fort Dodge (pictured above in a lush field of cereal rye).

Brent will review his cover crop playbook. including variety selection, crop rotation and return on investment. Scroll down in this email to see the complete lineup of upcoming cover crop field days, or head to the spring cover crop page on our website.
Practical Farmers of Iowa was founded by farmers in the 1980s farm crisis who were looking for ways to reduce their inputs, bring down their annual operating costs and make it through the lean season until land and crop prices came back into balance. Back then, they investigated extended rotations that included legumes as a way to grow nitrogen instead of purchasing fertilizer inputs, and that lesson is more applicable than ever in today’s agricultural economy.
One single footprint. How often do we associate one single anything as an influential force? But that single footprint is connected to another single footprint, and another, until there is a vast network of interconnected systems. This is true of the vast biological community underfoot, and it’s true of the vast member community at Practical Farmers of Iowa. Each of our member “footprints” represents a connection to something bigger. A connection to an idea or question. A connection to a neighbor, a family member or friend. A connection to the landscape. A connection to a community.

If you attended our annual conference this year, you were a part of cultivating those connections. Each footprint represented a vast network, all linked by a common mission.
Practical Farmers of Iowa is seeking a diligent, respectful and passionate person to join our strategic initiatives team. Duties include collecting and entering farm production information into sustainability tools for innovative supply chain programs and coordinating on-farm monitoring and data collection for the strategic initiatives team.  Read more here or contact Alisha Bower (alisha@practicalfarmers.org) for more information.
Do you or someone you know have journalism or communications experience that could help farmers tell their stories? The farmer outreach coordinator will work with farmers in a variety of ways to help them tell stories, and will create opportunities for them to do so at events and in the media. This person will also work with the communications team, writing articles and developing stories for videos, podcasts and other print and online outlets. Read more at this link or contact Nick Ohde (nick@practicalfarmers.org) for more information.
We are excited to announce that our very own Sarah Carlson was recognized in Grist's list of top 50 "Fixers" of 2019!

According to Grist: "Every year, Grist scours the sustainability space to find up-and-coming people doing potentially game-changing work. This year, we issued a broad call for nominees, and received close to 1,200 nominations from experts in all fields, our brilliant Grist readers, previous Grist 50 honorees and our own writers and editors . . . . The overwhelming response to our call for Fixers (that’s what we call these folks) tells its own story: There are thousands of people out there, across many disciplines, who can inspire us all."

The result is a collection of 50 Fixers working to build a sustainable world that works for everyone.

Click on the photo of Sarah below to read more!
PFI is organizing regional grazing groups across the state!  Grazing groups will go on pasture walks, discuss the needs of pasture-based livestock farmers and bring in speakers you want to learn from.

Interested?  Fill out this form,   or click the button below, to register your interest.   The first grazing group meetings will be held this spring! Contact Meghan Filbert with any questions: meghan@practicalfarmers.org .
Our 2019 spring cover crop field day series is nearly here! We hope you'll join us to learn about cover crops and how they can be used in crop and livestock systems. The series starts on March 26 in Fort Dodge 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.

March 26 – Fort Dodge

March 27 – Prairie City

April 2 – Osage

April 3 – Orange City

April 4 – Epworth

June 4 – La Porte City
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.
March 26: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Fort Dodge

March 27: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Prairie City

April 2: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Osage

April 3: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Orange City

April 4: Field Day - Cover Crops
4 - 7 p.m. | Epworth
April 5: Call - Small Grains Economics
Noon - 1 p.m. | (641) 715-3620

7 p.m | Okoboji

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

2 p.m. | Waterloo
Several PFI members were featured in Food Tank: 13 Stories Showing that Family Farming can be the Future for Agriculture.

Members featured include:
  • John W. and Beverly Gilbert, and John C. and Sarah Gilbert, of Iowa Falls
  • April Wilson of Paullina
  • Tim and Deleana Roseland of Gilman
  • Phil and Erin Kramer of Hardy
  • Ron and Denise Mardesen of Elliott
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.