Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Michael Phillips speaks to a packed room during a session at our 2019 annual conference "Cultivating Connections," held Jan. 17-19 in Ames.

Michael -- a highly regarded author and speaker who farms at Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs and Lost Nation Orchard in New Hampshire -- was also the keynote speaker at the conference. His keynote highlighted the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi, microscopic soil communities and our crops, and how the fungal network can help foster resilience in ecosystems.

During the Q&A session, attendees had a chance to ask questions inspired by the keynote and Michael's books, and to interact one-on-one with this much-requested speaker and farmer.

Michael's latest book, “Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils,” explores the science of symbiotic fungi and sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape.
Feb. 2:  Workshop -  Chestnut Growers Workshop
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. |   EVENT FULL

5:30 - 8 p.m. | Ames | RSVP here!

Feb. 5:  Social -  Fruit and Vegetable Farmer Meet-Up
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Waverly

Feb. 6:  Meeting -  Grazing Cover Crops for Profit
6:30 - 8:30 p.m. | Boone

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Logan

Feb 9:  Workshop -  Farmland Access Bootcamp
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | Newton

Feb 10: Social - Beginning Farmer Social
5 - 8 p.m. | Springville | RSVP here!

If you raise oats, or are thinking of adding oats to your crop rotation, our newest report details how 16 oat varieties performed at four Iowa locations in 2018.

For each variety, cooperators measured yield, test weight (a common indicator of grain quality) and susceptibility to a variety of diseases.

All of the presentations from our 2018 Cooperators' Meeting are now available to watch on our YouTube page. During this annual meeting, farmer-cooperators gather to share on-farm research results from the year and brainstorm new trials for the year ahead.

Rob Stout, of Washington, gave the keynote on 10 years of cover crop research. Other research presenters included Carmen Black, Jack Boyer and Wade Dooley. View the playlist here!
Join us Monday, Feb. 4, at Gateway Hotel in Ames (2100 Green Hills Drive) at this FREE dinner and information meeting to learn about cost-share options available through Unilever’s Sustainable Soy Program, which is open to farmers who sell soybeans to the Archer Daniels Midland supply chain.

Practical Farmers is a partner in the program, which provides cost-share and agronomic support for planting cover crops and gives participants access to a robust cover crop support system through PFI’s network.

Dinner agenda:

  • 5:30 p.m. - Reception

  • 6 p.m. - Dinner

  • 6:25 p.m. - Welcome Sarah Carlson, strategic initiatives director, Practical Farmers of Iowa

  • 6:30 p.m. - Hellman's Brand Update Stefani Millie Grant, senior manager, Unilever

  • 6:40 p.m. - China Trade Talks Update and Q&A Kirk Leeds, CEO, Iowa Soybean Association

  • 7:10 p.m. - Planting Cover Crops at Scale, Ray Gaesser, southwest Iowa farmer

  • 7:40 p.m. - 2018 Recap and 2019 Changes Sarah Carlson, strategic initiatives director, PFI

  • 7:55 p.m. - Closing Remarks Mike Helland, Farmer from Polk and Story counties

If you sell soybeans to the ADM supply chain, or participated in another PFI cover crop support program last year, plan to attend and learn more about changes for 2019.
Kirk Leeds, CEO of Iowa Soybean Association will share insights on soybean exports and tariffs.
First-time customer of Iowa Cover Crop  and its dealer network? Get a seed and application discount this fall!
Ray Gaesser , farmer in southwest Iowa, will share his playbook for how he plants and manages 2,600 acres of cover crops.
Intensive, agroecological, no-till food production systems have dramatic functional benefits for our ecology, natural resources and communities.

In this farminar, Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser will discuss how they have implemented an intensive, no-till, hand-labor vegetable production system that is profitable while restoring soil carbon, soil biology and macro-ecology on their farm. Learn how Elizabeth and Paul quadrupled their organic matter since 2007 in Tuesday's free farminar at 7 p.m.
Join fellow farmers to discuss the upcoming season, challenges, opportunities and ideas, and to network with other farmers over a cup of coffee and some breakfast.

All meet-ups run from 9:30-11:30 a.m., and are FREE and open to all fruit and vegetable growers. You don’t have to be a PFI member to attend. RSVPs are not necessary. Just show up!

Find an upcoming fruit and vegetable meet-up near you:

Tuesday, Feb. 5 – Waverly
Hosted by: Tammy Faux (Genuine Faux Farm) and Lindsay Kaiser (Kaiser Farm)
Wild Carrot: 215 E Bremer Ave.

Thursday, Feb. 7 – Logan
Hosted by: Danelle Myer (One Farm)
Logan Flours: 305 E 7th St.

Tuesday, Feb. 26 – Solon
Hosted by: Laura Krouse (Abbe Hills Farm)
Salt Fork Kitchen: 112 E Main St. 52333

Thursday, Feb. 28 – Decorah
Hosted by: Barb Kraus (Canoe Creek Produce)
Canoe Creek Produce: 2912 Manawa Trail Rd.

Tuesday, March 12 – Des Moines
Hosted by: Jenny Quiner (Dogpatch Urban Gardens) and Angela Tedesco (retired farmer)
HoQ: 303 E 5th St.

Thursday, March 14 – Algona
Hosted by: Joanne Roepke Bode (Bode's Moonlight Gardens)
The Chocolate Season: 16 E. State St.
Cover crops have value as livestock feed – but how much value? On-farm research shows that cover crops offset winter feed and put money back into farmers’ pockets the same year of planting.

Hear from  Mark Schleisman , Lake City cattle and crop farmer, and  Meghan Filbert , PFI’s livestock program manager, on how to manage cover crops for grazing and maximal profits.

This is a public event. There is no need to RSVP. Learn more about this event on Facebook!
Beginning farmers: Join us on Feb. 10 for a social near Springville
Join other beginning and aspiring farmers at Crow’s Creek Farm , operated by Alyssa Aronson and her family, for a potluck and social on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 5-8 p.m. near Springville.

We are excited to partner with the National Young Farmers Coalition Eastern Iowa chapter to bring farmers together to share their farming plans for this coming year and learn more about the work both organizations are doing.

Food and social time will start at 6 p.m. following the chapter meeting. Loose-meat sandwiches from Alyssa's Angus beef and a mix of drinks will be provided, but please bring additional sides, desserts or anything else you'd like to share.

Your RSVP is appreciated. Please RSVP to: greg@practicalfarmers.org or by calling (515) 232-5661.
Mary Swander of Kalona was featured in Capital Press: Iowa program helps NW farmers and ranchers plan for succession

Ron Rosmann of Harlan was featured in:

Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice of Wapello were featured in the Savanna Institute's 2018 Perennial Report
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.