Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Everyone needs onions, and that’s why Kate Edwards, of Wild Woods Farm near Iowa City, grows lots of them. At our annual conference this year (Jan 17-19, in Ames) Kate will lead a session on Storage Onion Production along with Dan Fillius of ISU Extension.

In addition to onions, the conference will feature many practical sessions on vegetable production, from sessions focused on specific crops to those exploring finances, farm labor, seed-saving, marketing, biodynamic production and more. Learn more here!
7 p.m. |  Tune in here

7 p.m. |  Tune in here

Jan. 17-18: Pre-Conference Short Course: Silvopasture
Jan. 17, 1 - 6:30 p.m. | Jan. 18, 8 - 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 17-18: Pre-Conference Short Course: Commercial Apple Orcharding
Jan. 17, 1 - 6:30 p.m. | Jan. 18, 8 - 11:30 a.m.

Jan 18-19: Annual Conference: Cultivating Connections
Jan. 18, 12:30 - 6:30 p.m. | Jan. 19, 7:30 a.m. - 5:10 p.m.

7 p.m. |  Tune in here
T.D. Holub and his wife, Sarah, raise vegetables, eggs and pastured broiler chickens on 10 acres at Garden Oasis Farm, near Coggon, Iowa. T.D. will co-lead a session on cauliflower production at our upcoming annual conference.
The cauliflower session is one of three offered at the conference focused on crops that present some unique challenges to Iowa’s vegetable growers, including cauliflower, eggplant and storage onions. In this guest post, T.D. shares details about his experience with these crops. Click here to read about T.D.'s experience with these crops.
Get ready for 2019 winter f arminars!
Farminars are our version of a webinar. They feature practical knowledge shared by farmers and experts on a wide range of topics for row crop, livestock and fruit and vegetable growers. Held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST, each farminar focuses on a unique production or business management topic. The presentations are free for anyone with an internet connection. Check out the 2019 winter farminar lineup!
The Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project is working to demonstrate the benefits of prairie strips to landowners. Two members of the STRIPS team, Tim Youngquist and Seth Watkins, will share how to establish and maintain prairie strips on farmland, from both the technician and farmer perspectives. Tune in Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.!
In this full-day workshop, learn from a number of experts about all aspects of chestnut production and marketing. Topics will include site selection, planting and tree management, varietal recommendations, grafted versus seedling trees, harvesting and curing, marketing, and financial resources.

Cost to attend is $10 for PFI members and $60 for non-members.
Conference pre-registration deadline is approaching
Pre-registration for our annual conference closes at midnight on Thursday, Jan. 10. You are still able to attend the conference as a walk-in, but prices go up $10 per day. Register online here!
We are still accepting silent auction donations!
It's not too late to submit your items or services for the silent auction at this year's annual conference! The proceeds provide us with funds to stay member-directed.

Please consider donating quality goods and services to help make our 2019 silent auction a success.  Items that have raised a lot of money in the past include:

  • services, such as free rental of farm equipment for a day, free consultation with a farmer expert or a free stay at your time-share

  • tickets to a sold-out sporting event, a popular conference or other in-demand event

  • one-of-a-kind gifts like homemade quilts, woodwork and baskets

If you would like to donate to our silent auction, please contact debra@practicalfarmers.org  or call (515) 232-5661.
Whether you raise conventional, non-GMO or organic row crops, you'll find a session relevant to you at our 2019 annual conference.

From sessions on starting a cover crop seed business, to using integrated pest management, to a series on weed management in organic systems -- and more -- you'll have many opportunities to learn, get inspired and leave with practical advice to make your operation more profitable and resilient.

This year, we've also planned a suite of sessions dedicated to integrated crop-livestock systems. You'll get to hear from farmers from different farm systems who are using a variety of approaches to diversify their operations with a wide range of crops and livestock -- and how they are reducing inputs, saving money and improving their soil:
  In “Regenerating Degraded Soils With Cover Crops and Livestock,” Darin and Nancy Williams will share how they have successfully integrated long-term crop rotations, cover crops and grazing livestock.
In “No-Till, Manure and Cover Crops on a Dairy and Grain Farm in the Challenging Farm Economy,” Dan Meyer will discuss how they have made no-till, diversified crop rotations and cover crops work on their Wisconsin crop and dairy farm – as well as the various benefits they’ve seen from this system.
In “What’s the Soil Missing? Integrated Crop Rotation and Livestock,” Trent Sanderson will share how he has improved his northern Illinois crop fields with red clover, winter wheat, strip-tilled corn and no-tilled soybeans with cover crops. He will also discuss grazing livestock on annuals and perennial pastures.
Watch for your membership expiration date on all mailed PFI publications
To make it easier for you to know when your PFI membership expires, we are including membership expiration dates on the address label of all our printer-mailed publications.

The aim is to help you keep track of when it is time to renew, and prevent your membership from lapsing. You can renew on-line anytime. You may also opt to renew for multiple years or sign up for auto-renew.

Need help with any of this? Call the office at (515) 232-5661. We are happy to help!
Jan Libbey of Kanawha was featured in the Mitchell County Press News: Mitchell County Soil and Water District makes funding request.

Sarah Gilbert of Iowa Falls co-wrote an op-ed in the Des Moines Register: Farm Bill takes important step toward rewarding those who care for our land.

Zak and Emily Kennedy of Atlantic were featured in Wallaces Farmer : Iowa BQA names its 2018 winners.
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.