Practical News
Doug Peterson, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (right) and Alan Wedemeyer, with USDA, hold trays of soil to showcase the benefits of cover crops during a field day on July 19 in Grundy Center.
Upcoming Events
-- Carroll, Ohio -- hosted by Practical Farmers of Iowa 
-- Charles City -- hosted by Wendy Johnson & Johnny Rafkin
August 8 -- 
Oyster Mushroom Production - - Columbus Junction -- hosted by Tyson Allchin
August 13 -- Farmer-Led Local Food Aggregation -- Clear Lake -- hosted by Jan Libbey
August 14 -- Grass-Based Dairy Farming & Value-Added Cheese Production -- Jewell --  hosted by Kevin & Renae Dietzel
August 17 -- Grazing Goats: From Pasture to Market -- Walker -- hosted by Cheryl & Mike Hopkins

August 21 -- Grazing Heritage Cattle & Sheep on converted Crop Ground & Prairie 
-- Bedford -- hosted by Russ Wischover
On-Farm, Episode 012: Tyson Allchin - Allchin Acres

Member Spotlight - Wendy Johnson and Johnny Rafkin, of Charles City

Two New Grains and Their Uses: Frantzen Field Day Recap

Field Day Re-Cap: Growing the Giants at Schnicker's Specialties

Practical Farmers Well-Represented at CDI, NACD Conference
FIELD DAY: Farmer-Led Local Food Aggregation

Have you ever wondered what a food hub does, how it works -- or how to sell your farm products through one? Join Jan Libbey and North Iowa Fresh on Sunday, Aug. 13 in Clear Lake, and find out! You'll go behind the scenes to learn how a food hub works and the role it plays in the local food system.

You'll also learn about a new partnership between North Iowa Fresh, a food hub composed of northern Iowa farmers, and Opportunity Village, a non-profit that helps employ and support individuals with disabilities, that's helping to expand market opportunities for farmers in northern Iowa. 

FIELD DAY: Grass-Based Dairy Farming and Value-Added Cheese Production

Join beginning farmers Kevin and Ranae Dietzel, of Lost Lake Farm LLC, on Monday, Aug. 14, near Jewell, to learn about raising dairy cows on grass, biodynamic production and how they turn milk from their grass-fed cows into artisanal cheese. 

They'll discuss the challenges of starting a new business, lead a tour of their on-farm cheesery and share details about grazing management, dairy cow genetics and nutrition, starting a farm with relatively little infrastructure -- and more. 

A Lifetime of Support

A lifetime membership  with Practical Farmers of Iowa gives you the same benefits as a yearly membership, but without the hassle of renewing: A one-time payment of $1,000 ensures your membership never lapses. 
What are the benefits of a lifetime membership?
  • No renewal notices
  • No membership rate increases
  • Receive special recognition and a framed certificate
  • Weigh in on decisions
  • Never miss an issue of "the Practical Farmer"
  • Be a long-time supporter of our mission to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing
Learn more here about becoming a Lifetime member or click here to renew now. 
On-Farm, Episode 012 :
Tyson Allchin

This week on the show, we talk with Tyson Allchin of Columbus Junction, who grows mushrooms.  On the show, we talk all things mushrooms - from how mushrooms are different from plants and how you could grow them on your farm (or in your house!) to some of the most delicious ways to eat them.
You can listen or subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, Google Play or listen on our podcasts page.

FIELD DAY: Managing Potholes and Matching Conservation Efforts to Farm Profitability
Join Wendy Johnson and Johnny Rafkin, of Joia Food Farm, on Aug. 3 to learn about the impacts of farming potholes, the low-lying areas on their farm that pool with water during wet periods. Learn ways to manage those areas and hear about other conservation measures Wendy and Johnny are using to address some of their farm goals. (Click the video above for a field day sneak peek!) 
FIELD DAY: Oyster Mushroom Production
Join Tyson Allchin, of Allchin Acres, on Aug. 8 to learn the ins and outs of mushroom production, from substrate preparation through harvesting. Tyson has experience growing a wide range of mushrooms, and is happy to answer questions about cultivating other mushroom species. 
Member Spotlight
Wendy Johnson and Johnny Rafkin 
Members since 2011 
Charles City, IA  

Wendy Johnson and her husband, Johnny Rafkin, returned to Iowa seven years ago so Wendy could farm with her dad. Wendy and her father grow conventional corn and soybeans, hay and sheep near Charles City. They have been using cover crops for five years, and this year they have added oats into the rotation. 
Wendy and Johnny also operate Joia Food Farm, raising certified organic row crops, farrow-to-finish pigs, and pastured broilers and layers. They transitioned 30 acres to organic and as of 2016, those acres were certified organic. 
Members in the News
Request a Field Day Guide
Individuals or groups interested in the guide are welcome to contact the Practical Farmers office to request copies by mail. C ontact us at (515) 232-5661 or email

Click here to view or download.
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