Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Guests listen as Robert Alexander of 360 Heritage Farms discusses his transition to organic crop production during the field day he and his family hosted Wednesday in Remsen.

Among the topics discussed, Robert described two ongoing PFI Cooperators' Program research trials. One trial looked at whether corn yield is affected by the amount of biomass that accumulates from the interseeded cover crop mixes. Another project explored the link between when a cereal rye cover crop is seeded in the spring and its effect on weed control ahead of soybean planting.

360 Heritage Farms will be a century farm in 2020, and has 160 acres of organic corn, soybeans and hay as well as herds of grass-fed sheep and cattle.
Practical Farmers of Iowa has received a nearly $936,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will fund work to improve water quality, habitat and environmental education.

PFI's project -- "Roots for Water Quality: A Farmer-to-Farmer Model for a Sustainable Mississippi Basin" -- was one of three Iowa-based projects to receive funding through EPA's Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreement. A ceremony honoring the Iowa recipients took place on Wednesday at the Iowa State Fair.

“Practical Farmers of Iowa is ready to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa to tackle our water quality issues,” says PFI Strategic Initiatives Director Sarah Carlson.

“Through farmer-to-farmer learning, PFI has proven that cover crops are an essential tool of the agronomic toolbox to manage weeds and reduce soil erosion, while improving water quality in a corn and soybean rotation."
Video: Summer Lettuce Variety Trial - Farmer-Led Research
To meet customer demand, Iowa vegetable farmers need to grow lettuce during the hot summer months when lettuce, a cool-season crop, is most difficult to grow.

Six farmer-cooperators compared four lettuce varieties – Concept, Cherokee, Magenta and Nevada – to determine which grow and taste best during summer in Iowa.

In this video, PFI horticulture and habitat programs manager, Liz Kolbe, explains the research project. Jordan Scheibel, of Middle Way Farm in Grinnell, talks about what he's looking for in a heat-tolerant lettuce variety and how it can help benefit his operation.
Soil compaction and lack of fence are often identified by farmers as the two major barriers to grazing cover crops. But it's possible to graze cover crops with no adverse effects to the soil or the cash crop – in fact, research shows that grazing cover crops can alleviate soil compaction.

Cooperators Bruce and Connie Carney of Maxwell, Rick Kimberly of Maxwell and Wade Dooley of Albion compared soil compaction levels in row crop fields with no cover crops to fields where cover crops were planted and grazed by cattle.
Practical Farmers of Iowa will serve as a host site for two full-time Land and Water Steward with Green Iowa AmeriCorps, in partnership with University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education. One position is filled and we are looking for a second AmeriCorps volunteer to join us!

The position is one of several Green Iowa AmeriCorps is currently recruiting for at sites across Iowa. All are full-time, 11-month positions that will begin in September 2019.

Read more about the program -- and if you're interested in the position at Practical Farmers, make sure you check the "Ames (LWS)" box under location.
Sunday, Aug. 18 | 2 – 4 p.m. | Donahue, IA
Hosted by: Cathy Lafrenz

Thursday, Aug. 22 | 1 – 4 p.m. | Frederick, IL
Hosted by: Greg Rebman 

Saturday, Aug. 24 | 10 a.m. – Noon | Adel, IA
Hosted by: Maury and Mary Wills
Sunday, Aug. 18 | 5-7 p.m. | 29630 600th Ave. | Cambridge, IA
Join other beginning and aspiring farmers to take a break from the growing season and share a good meal.

Build your farming network and learn from others who have similar (or different!) farm ventures than you.

Caleb Akin and Noah Wendt started A&W Farms in 2006. A&W Farms feeds cattle, produces conventional corn and soybeans and grows a variety of organic grain. Hear from Caleb and Noah about their experience developing the operation from scratch.
Join us Thursday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Pearson Lakes Art Center, 2201 US-71, Okoboji IA.

Jorgen Rose, farm transfer and habitat coordinator with Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Gary Wright, farm management specialist with Iowa State University, will conduct an audience talk-back after the performance.

“Map of My Kingdom” is a play exploring the complex issues surrounding farmland transition.
Aug. 18: Field Day - U-Pick Cut Flowers
2-4 p.m. | Donahue

Aug. 18: Social - Beginning Farmer
5-7 p.m. | Cambridge

Aug. 22: Field Day - Grazing Cover Crops
1-4 p.m. | Frederick, IL
Aug. 22: Play - "Map of My Kingdom"
7 p.m. | Okoboji

Aug. 24: Field Day - Organic Apple Orchard
10 a.m.-Noon | Adel
Volunteers needed for upcoming member drive
We are seeking volunteers to come join us in the PFI office on Wednesday, Aug. 28 to help stuff envelopes for our fall membership drive. Volunteers are asked to join us between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and work will include folding letters, stuffing envelopes and affixing stamps and address labels.

This is a fun chance to meet other PFI members and staff. Snacks from our farmers will be provided.

If you have questions, or want to join us, please contact Debra Boekholder at debra@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661.
Matt Russell of Lacona wrote an opinion piece in the Des Moines Register: Pay farmers for environmental services

Janna Feldman of Honey Creek was featured in a story on the Center for Rural Affairs' website: Flood waters destroy roads but don’t dampen spirits at Doe’s and Diva’s Dairy

Linda Wattonville of Alleman and Nathan Anderson Aurelia were featured in the Des Moines Register in an opinion piece written by Sally Worley of Grimes: We must all work together to stop pesticide drift

Maggie McQuown and Steve Turman of Red Oak and Lydia English of Ames were featured in the Red Oak Express: Resilient Farms gives back to planet (Note: This story was in the Aug. 6 issue, and is not available online)
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.