Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
We are pleased to announce that Doug Alert and Margaret Smith, of Hampton, have been chosen to receive Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award.

We grant this award each year to an individual or couple that has shown exemplary commitment to sustainable agriculture, generously shared their knowledge with others and been influential in efforts to foster vibrant communities, diverse farms and healthy food.

Doug and Margaret are long-time PFI members who operate Ash Grove Farm, a diversified, certified organic crop and livestock operation that includes organic feed corn and soybeans; organic seed soybeans, rye, hairy vetch and oats; and organic food-grade corn, soybeans and oats.

They have used cover crops for years, and run a cow herd, marketing the calves through conventional markets. They also keep a fruit and vegetable garden, laying hens and bees for their family use.

They have conducted numerous on-farm research projects over the years, sharing their findings through a variety of formats, and their work has been instrumental in helping other farmers find solutions to on-farm challenges.

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

Jan. 29:  Farminar -  Regenerative Grazing Technology
7 p.m. |   Tune in here

Feb. 2:  Workshop -  Chestnut Growers Workshop
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. |   RSVP here

5:30 - 8 p.m. | Ames

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

Feb 9:  Workshop -  Farmland Access Bootcamp
10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | Newton
If you intend to plant a winter small-grain like wheat, rye or triticale, the optimal planting date is between Oct. 1 and 15. In many years, corn and bean harvest is still happening at that time, making it difficult to establish a good stand of small grains going into the winter. Selecting a shorter-maturity group or hybrid for soybeans and corn can help get the small-grain in on time. Read more about choosing the right seed here.
PFI and Iowa Cattlemen's Association are working to reduce barriers for cattlemen and women interested in grazing cover crops. Would you like to graze more cover crop acres? Would cost-share opportunities for fence and water help you? Please fill out this survey to help us understand what would help you the most on your operation. Take the survey here!
Whether you are grazing 1 acre or 10,000, modern electric fencing and stock watering systems have given producers the flexibility to take their livestock to the most unusual of places – and these systems contribute to a growing trend of not owning any land at all. Additionally, grazing as a restorative land service is becoming more popular. Mobile infrastructure lets imaginative graziers reap profits while contributing to ecological restoration. In this farminar, explore the electric fence and stock water systems used to manage forage resources in these arrangements. Tune in on Tuesday at 7 p.m.!
PFI and Red Fern Farm are teaming up to offer a full-day chestnut workshop at the Iowa Arboretum in Madrid, on Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The workshop will cover all aspects of chestnut production and marketing in the Midwest. Topics will include site selection, planting and tree management, varietal recommendations, grafted versus seedling trees, harvesting and curing, marketing and financial resources. Read more about the workshop here.

The cost to attend is $10 for PFI members and $60 for non-members.
Join us Monday, Feb. 4, at Gateway Hotel in Ames (2100 Green Hills Drive).

  • Reception begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Dinner and program from 6-8 p.m.

Kirk Leeds , CEO of Iowa Soybean Association, will share insights on soybean exports and tariffs. Ray Gaesser , farmer in southwest Iowa, will share his playbook for how he plants and manages 2,600 acres of cover crops.

Learn about changes to the supply chain cover crop support program for 2019. If you sell soybeans to the ADM supply chain, or corn to the Cargill plant at Eddyville, plan to attend to learn more.
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!
The 2019 annual conference is underway! For those of you in attendance, we would love to hear about your experience on social media! Tag us and use the hashtag #PFI19 on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

If you couldn't make it to the conference, be sure to subscribe to PFI on YouTube to get notified when we post the latest video of sessions from the conference. You can also check out sessions from last year's conference and see more informative content from PFI!
J Arbuckle of Ames was featured in Iowa Ag Connection: Watershed group members likely to use cover crops

Aaron Lehman of Polk City and Steve Carlson of Madrid were featured in the Ames Tribune: Boone County Service Center among FSA offices to re-open Thursday

Kate Edwards of Iowa City was featured in Wallaces Farmer: Helping beginning farmers find land
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.