Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
On Thursday night, we held our annual Cooperators' Meeting banquet at the Quality Inn & Suites in Ames, Iowa. The event brings together farmer-cooperators, organizational partners, Practical Farmers of Iowa members and supporters, along with PFI staff and family members, to celebrate on-farm research accomplishments of the past year and share in food, camaraderie and curiosity.

Among the highlights:

  • Farmhouse Catering, of Nevada, Iowa, catered a meal featuring ingredients sourced from PFI farmers

  • four farmer-cooperators shared stories about their experiences with the program and what on-farm research means to them

  • everyone had a chance to take part in a venerable Cooperators' Meeting banquet tradition: passing the microphone and sharing what they're curious about in five or fewer words (give or take – the replies are always illuminating, fun and as diverse as PFI's membership)

Farmer-cooperators also gathered on Thursday and Friday to brainstorm and design research trials for 2022.

Fruit and vegetable farmers: Are you thinking about what to grow and market in 2022? Looking to add a new greenhouse or high tunnel? Or maybe you're looking to grow your network and find a mentor. The 2022 annual conference will have sessions on all of these topics and more!
The information systems manager will help organizational leadership to plan, manage and support information systems and processes.

PFI uses constituent relationship management software, an accounting system, survey platforms, database tools and various other applications to support daily operations and key organizational processes.

Visit our employment page to learn more about the position and how to apply.
Whey is a common byproduct of making dairy products from goats. It's also an excellent source of protein.

Carmen and Maja Black, Helaina Thompson and Carlos Williams of Sundog Farm & Local Harvest CSA, in Solon, Iowa, wondered if the whey produced on the farm could improve broiler chicken growth when offered as a supplement to the chickens’ feed.

In recent years, several farmers have wondered about using clover as a companion cover crop or living mulch with corn.

Jack Boyer and Dick Sloan planted corn into a living clover cover crop, then chemically suppressed the clover. Their aim was to limit competition with the corn but allow the clover to regrow later in the season.

This was the fourth year of on-farm research trials designed to evaluate planting corn in 60-inch row-widths. With the data, farmer-cooperators hope to improve the success of interseeding cover crops to corn in early summer while maintaining corn grain yield.

Landon Brown and Tim Sieren planted corn in two row-widths (30 inches and 60 inches) and compared corn yields between the two row-widths.

Jan. 21-22: Conference - 2022 PFI annual conference | Ames, IA
When considering whether to grow small grains, one of the main things farmers ask is: Can I sell them?

The answer isn't so simple. Farmers often have to answer several smaller questions first, such as where and how to sell the small grains crop, and what quality specifications they are expected to meet.

Throughout 2021, PFI helped 44 farmers conduct 58 on-farm research trials to address the questions they have for their farms. These farmers convened in Ames, Iowa, this week to discuss their recent research and make plans for future trials.

Farmer-led research has been core to PFI since our beginnings in the 1980s. Vic Madsen, who farms near Audubon, Iowa, has been conducting trials with PFI since then, saying, Conducting trials makes me make better decisions. On-farm research gave us confidence to try new and different things.

Vic’s son Eric started participating in on-farm research in 2020. Eric says, Conducting the on-farm trial was not as time-consuming or difficult as I had envisioned. Having actual data from my own farm is priceless.

Help PFI continue facilitating this important on-farm researchfrom generation to generationand please donate today. Your donation will help us reach our year-end goal of raising $50,000 this December.
Members in the News
Lydia English of Ames, IA, Nick Smith of Epworth, IA, and Ben Dwire of Arco, MN, were featured in Agri-Pulse: Cover crops as cash crops: Farmers angle to profit off the practice

Amanda and Knute Severson, of Clarion, IA, Jim and LeAnn VanDerPol, of Kerkhoven, MN, and Andy and Lindsay Linder of Easton, MN, were featured in a video series by University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative: Video Series: Reintegrating Grazing Ruminants in Row Crop Country
PFI in the News
Practical Farmers of Iowa was mentioned on the Iowa Corn Growers Association website: Education and Finances Are Key to Soil Health.

Stefan Gailans, research and field crops director for PFI, was quoted in Progressive Forage: Building soil organic matter key to healthy, productive crops.
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.