Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Virtual Retreat: December 11–12, 2020
If you are starting a farm, or thinking about starting one, you should plan to attend one of these training series this winter. Both series will begin at our annual Beginning Farmer Retreat.

This year, the retreat will be held virtually on Dec. 11-12. In addition to networking with other farmers, make progress on defining your purpose in farming and establish a foundation toward setting goals and creating a business plan.
Following the retreat, attendees will choose one of two trainings to keep the momentum toward crafting an action plan.

Establish Farming Series
Beginning farmers who have started to farm and are working to build their business plan should attend the Establish Farming series. Three virtual workshops will lead you through the process of using decision-making to build a farm plan. Between workshops, you will have activities to complete and opportunities to connect with mentors to further your understanding of your farm direction.

Virtual Workshops held first Tuesday of the month Jan. - Mar.
  • Planning Your Enterprises: Take a deep dive into what enterprises you currently raise and ones you anticipate adding
  • Looking at the Whole Picture: Look at all the pieces of your plan together to make decisions towards your farm plan
  • Crafting Your Farm Plan: Take all you have evaluated and put it into an action plan for the following year
Explore Farming Series
Aspiring farmers should look to the Explore Farming training to take their ideas and vision into reality. This series will feature three virtual workshops followed by opportunities to connect with landowners seeking new farmers for their farmland.

Virtual Workshops held second Thursday of the month Jan. - Mar.
  • Place: Understand your land access needs and resources
  • Product: Determine what you plan to produce and how to sell it
  • People: Build your network and increase your connections
It is a familiar journey: driving home through the dark, icy chill as your headlights glare into the falling snow. You release held breath as your tires feel the last turn onto the gravel in the January night.
Travelling to PFI’s annual conference each year is like visiting family, like being at a reunion where relationships grow and deepen; where we hear new ideas, make new friends and improve our farms. You've driven through blizzards, ice and drifted roads not to miss this. But this year, with the risks of COVID-19 we won’t ask you to.

Just want to talk to someone?

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s board of directors, staff and members have formed a committee of people who want to be available for anyone who would like to chat. We know this year has been hard for everyone, and with so much isolation from other people, sometimes it’s good to talk to a fellow PFIer.

Please, let us know if you would like to talk to someone. Visit our new connections page or call our office at (515) 232-5661.
Check out these resources for beginning farmers
We have recently updated our collection of business, financial, production and technical assistance resources to help aspiring and beginning farmers further their business goals. You can access them by clicking on the icons below.

We will continue to build this list and add new resources as they are available. If you see any resources missing that you find helpful, please share them with us. You can send them to Greg Padget at greg@practicalfarmers.org.
The Clean Start program is a free, six month coaching program intended to help beginning farmers understand and implement food safety best practices on their own farm. Program coaches will work one-on-one with participants each month, culminating in the creation of a personalized Food Safety Plan and mock audit to assess on-farm food safety procedures.
The Clean Start program is accepting applications until November 9th.
You have questions about your business – whether it's understanding how to be more profitable or knowing whether you can afford a piece of new equipment. Most answers to these questions can be found in your bookkeeping system. In this 4 week workshop, we’ll dig deep into QuickBooks helping you get the answers you need to improve profitability and cash flow; and maintain financial sustainability. Live classes meet on-line for 2 hours every week. In four weeks, you will learn how to:
  • Set up your QuickBooks
  • Enter in basic and complex transactions
  • Manage cash flow
  • Run (and read!) reports
Sessions begin November 12, 2020
Greg Judy started making videos to show others how they graze, what their pastures look like, what kind of fencing they use, and all the little things that improve their success. Now you’ll find over 300 videos to help you solve your own challenges. Check out their YouTube channel and see what they have captured.
As funding allows, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) awards scholarships of up to $400 for livestock and poultry farmers to attend conferences and training events - including virtual events - to learn humane animal management practices. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to eligible farmers until funding is depleted. Check out our scholarship page for all of the details and to apply online.
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) awards competitive grants of up to $2,500 to working, independent family farmers located in the U.S. who raise beef cattle, bison, broiler chickens, dairy cows, goats, laying hens, pigs, sheep and/or turkeys. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59pm CT on December 1, 2020 to be considered for this round of funding. Grants will be awarded in February 2021.
The Enterprise Budgeting and Urban Farm Record Keeping webinar will cover an introduction to enterprise budgeting for small farms and homesteads with example budgets for several field grown crops, high tunnel crops, and urban farms recordkeeping tools. Registration Deadline: Thursday, November 12.
Thu., Nov. 12, 2020 | 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM ET
Upcoming PFI Events
Oct. 27: Virtual Field Day - Sheep Facilities
7-8:15 p.m. | Online
Find A Farmer
Find A Farmer allows for a comfortable place to start anonymous conversations with land-seekers or landowners. Search for users in a particular area that fit your specifications and begin the discussion.

Find A Farmer is FREE and available for anyone with internet access! No membership is required.
Labor4Learning helps beginning farmers get paid on-the-job training with experienced farmers, and pays experienced farmers for their time and effort.

Savings Incentive Program
Savings Incentive Program is a 2-year program that pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors; provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities; offers business planning support and guidance. All this while you save money that we match dollar for dollar, up to $2,400, to use toward the purchase of a farm asset.

Looking for more?
Greg Padget
Next Generation Director
(515) 232-5661
Celize Christy
Next Generation Coordinator
(515) 232-5661