Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
We're fortunate to have  New Zealand agroecologist Nicole Masters keynote our conference next week. Nicole is a systems thinker, educator, author of "For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate Our Food Systems" and director of the New Zealand-based Integrity Soils.

In this dynamic keynote, Nicole will present  an illuminating look at the interrelationships among soil microbes, structure, plant health and resilience, and explain how fostering healthy soils translates directly to improvements in farmers’ bottom lines.
We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference next week.

Pre-registration has closed, but you can still register at the door the day of the conference.
New offerings at PFI's silent auction this year: experiences hosted by members! 
Be sure to check out the silent auction this year at the annual conference in Room 299! The proceeds provide us with funds to remain member-directed. On display will be various quality goods and services available for you to bid on.

New this year, you will have the chance to bid on experiences hosted by PFI members, staff and board members! Here is a sneak peek of these experiences:

  • Pheasant hunting with PFI board member Nathan Anderson
  • "Prune Along" with Dean Henry from Berry Patch Farm
  • Bird watching with PFI board member Lisa Shulte Moore

If you would like to donate to our silent auction, please contact hannah@practicalfarmers.org or call (515) 232-5661.
You’re invited to our potluck — new location!
We are continuing this favorite conference tradition, with a few changes! This year, our potluck will be held at CityChurch of Ames-Des Moines, located at 2400 Oakwood Road in Ames. This venue is easy to find and close to the conference hotels.

Also new this year: This event will offer a fully catered meal. But since we still want to honor the potluck tradition, if you would like, you may bring an appetizer or dessert to share. Practical Farmers will provide water and tableware.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement attached to the deed of a property that places limits and stipulations on that particular parcel, usually in perpetuity (forever).

A growing number of organizations and individuals are using conservation easements to protect land for agriculture and wildlife, and they can be a powerful tool in a farm succession strategy.
Join us in historic Springfield, Illinois, to learn about growing small grains, cover cropping and the benefits of an extended rotation!

Meet-ups are a time for farmers to discuss the upcoming season, challenges, opportunities and ideas, and to network with other farmers over a cup of coffee and some breakfast. These events are free and open to all fruit, vegetable and flower growers. You don’t have to be a PFI member to attend.

All meet-ups are 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Feb. 4  – Waverly
The Wild Carrot

Feb. 6  – Logan
Logan Flours

Feb. 11  – Des Moines
Feb. 13  – Algona
Feed Mill Coffee Co.

Feb. 25  – Solon
Salt Fork Kitchen
Bonus: Flower meet-up

Feb. 27  – Ames
PFI office

During their first season together, Dayna and beginning farmers Heidi Eger and Bailey Lutz have learned how to navigate the successes and challenges of running and participating in an incubator farm.
From the winter magazine:
Transitioning vegetable production to a high tunnel requires shifts in management. Mike Bollinger and his wife, Katie Prochaska, have been growing vegetables in high tunnels for over a decade at River Root Farm.

Mike and Katie will share the ins and outs of crop selection, seeding and plant protection. In addition, Mike will use his knowledge as a former greenhouse manufacturer to answer questions regarding structural considerations.
Jan. 14: Farminar - Greens Production
7 p.m. | Online

Jan. 16-17: Conference - Short Courses | Ames

Jan. 17-18: Conference - PFI Annual Conference 2020 | Ames

Jan. 21: Farminar - Pest Control
7 p.m. | Online
Jan. 28: Farminar - Customer Relationships
7 p.m. | Online

Feb. 4: Meet-up - Vegetable Farmer
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Waverly

Feb. 4: Farminar - Weed Management
7 p.m. | Online
Make your voice heard; help guide our farmer-led organization!
To prepare for our next strategic plan, we are seeking responses to our next member survey. If you are a PFI member, you will have received an email about this. Please take the time to fill out this vital fact-finder!

Our surge in growth seems to indicate more people are paying attention to farmer-to farmer research and education. We want to capitalize on our growth to increase our impact into the future.
Members in the News
Molly Schintler of Mechanicsville was featured on Iowa Healthiest State's blog: Double Up Food Bucks sees 700% growth in 2019

Patti Naylor of Churdan wrote an op-ed that was featured in The Jefferson Herald: The inconvenient truth about industrial agriculture
PFI in the News
PFI was not featured in the news this week
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.