Practical News
November 9, 2018
Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
John Wesselius showcases a bed lifter for harvesting carrots while attendees harvest. John and Janna Wesselius, of The Cornucopia in Sioux Center, hosted Practical Farmers' last field day of this year on Thursday, where they showed several root and tuber crops still in the ground, shared their production methods for each crop and led a tour of their walk-in cooler and root cellar.
Nov. 13: Farminar - Understanding and Managing Impacts of Prairie Potholes
7 p.m. | Tune in here

Iowa City | Register here

 Nov. 26-27: Conference - 2018 Iowa Forage and Grassland Conference
Des Moines | Register here

Nov. 30 - Dec. 1: 2018 Beginning Farmer Retreat
Montour | Register Here
Does it matter if who owns the farmland isn’t the same as who farms it? Last summer, PFI member and author Beth Hoffman published an article in "The New Food Economy" titled “Ninety-nine percent of America’s farmers are family-owned. But only half are family farmed.” Past PFI executive director Teresa Opheim shared this article and spurred a vibrant discussion on Renewing the Countryside's Farm Transitions Discussion Group. Teresa wrote, “I think all of the farmland owned by people who are not farming is problematic.” Continue reading this blog.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and a few farms still have Thanksgiving turkeys available for sale. This blog lists PFI member farms who still have turkeys or other meat available. Peck into this list of farms and farmers who would love to provide holiday turkeys for you and your family! See who's offering local turkeys near you!
Join us on Tuesday for our first fall farminar of 2018. Held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST, each farminar focuses on a unique production or business management topic. All presentations are led by an experienced farmer or subject-matter expert, and you can ask questions in real time using a chatbox while you listen and watch a slideshow.

Farminar topics include:
  • Nov. 13 – “Understanding and Managing Impacts of Farmed Prairie Potholes”
  • Nov. 20 – “Getting Started Growing and Marketing Unusual Fruits” 
  • Nov. 27 – “Where to Begin With Winter Wheat Production” 
  • Dec. 4 – “Grazing Cover Crops with Sheep”
  • Dec. 11 – “Organic Seedling Production”
  • Dec. 18 – “Managing Disease in Organic Vegetable Crops”

Tune in every Tuesday night on our website! The presentations are free for anyone with an internet connection. For more details and speakers, visit the 2018 fall farminar page.
We are excited to announce the theme and line-up for our 2019 annual conference, "Cultivating Connections." The conference will focus on how to cultivate connections that nurture a purposeful path.

  • Learn how to cultivate a healthy soil that will improve productivity and increase ecosystem services.

  • Look to your past to make strides toward your vision for your farmland legacy.

  • Hear how to engage with your community to spur rural economic development.

  • Renew your inspiration, and make vital connections that can help you on your path to building resilient farms and communities.

View the brochure for speaker sessions, short courses and more. Register for the conference here!
Time and again, farmers tell us that having a mentor made an impact on their ability to be successful. We want to support you in becoming a role model and teacher for those just starting out in farming.

We are seeking experienced farmers to build our mentor pool. Mentorship places you in a position to positively influence those starting their farming journey.

Do you know any farmers who deserve to be recognized for their efforts to steward the land and foster resilient farms and communities? We are now accepting nominations for our 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award!

We grant this award annually to the person who has been most influential in creating healthy soil, healthy food, clean air, clean water, resilient farms and vibrant communities. Our board of directos will choose the winner based on the nominations you submit.

The recipient will be recognized at our 2019 annual conference, Jan. 18-19, in Ames. To nominate someone, please fill out this simple nomination form.
Tuesday, Nov. 13 | 7 p.m.
Amy Kaleita, Steven Hall

Leaching of nitrate and emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, are key environmental impacts of Corn Belt agricultural systems. Intermittent flooding of former prairie pothole wetlands (that are now farmed) can contribute disproportionately to these nitrogen losses at the landscape scale. These potholes may also flood often enough to hamper crop development – and in many cases, can pose logistical challenges to farm or farm around. Land management changes such as reduced tillage, or even more radical moves like retiring land, may provide a number of environmental benefits at relatively low cost. Learn more or join in here
J oin Us for the Beginning Farmer Retreat
Friday, Nov. 30 - Saturday, Dec. 1
Montour, IA
Pilgrim Heights Retreat Center

Registration is now open for our 2018 beginning farmer retreat. This year, we will gather at Pilgrim Heights Retreat Center in Montour, Iowa. This annual event brings beginning farmers together to network, plan and discuss ways to improve their farms while helping to build a sense of community among this fast-growing farming demographic. This popular event is beneficial for beginning and aspiring farmers in all enterprises. Register today!
Volunteer to Help With Our Fall Ask Mass Mailing
We are seeking volunteers on Thursday, Nov. 29, between 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., in our Ames office to help us with our annual fall ask fundraising mass mailing. Volunteers are asked to come anytime during those hours to help fold letters, stuff envelopes and affix stamps.

These mailings are fun, laid-back days, and a perfect opportunity to come meet other PFI members and staff. Snacks from our farmers will be provided, and prizes will be awarded to volunteers. If you are interested, please contact Debra at (515) 232-5661 or
Jay and Jeanne Hansen , and Blake and Jordan Hansen , of Hudson were featured in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Hansen Dairy rolls out rare beef cattle breed

Jack Boyer of Reinbeck was featured in the Corn and Soybean Digest: 10 years, 10 soil takeaways

Kathy and Herb Eckhouse of La Quercia in Norwalk were featured in Forbes: Why La Quercia Paid Big Money for Better Pigs
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.