Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Nearly 100 farmers and other guests attended the launch of the second year of ADM/Unilever's Sustainabl e Soy Program on Feb. 4, in Ames. Practical Farmers of Iowa 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.

During the dinner, t he group learned about updates to the cost-share program for 2019. New features this year include:

  • the "40 x 40" program, through which farmers brand-new to cover crops can earn $40 per acre on up to 40 acres of cover-cropped ground.

  • a partnership with Iowa Cover Crop, through which first-time customers to Iowa Cover Crop and its dealer network are eligible for a cover crop seed and application discount this fall if they commit by July 1.

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!

Feb. 12: Farminar - Ridge-Till Vegetable Production
7 p.m. | Tune in here!

Feb. 19: Farminar - Precision-Seeded Cover Crops
7 p.m. | Tune in here!

7 p.m. | Tune in here!

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Solon

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Decorah

Hayley joined our team on Monday, and is the newest addition to the PFI staff. In her role as research assistant, she will help increase the capacity of our Cooperators' Program by coordinating on-farm research trials that focus primarily on cover crops.

Hayley grew up on a cattle farm in western Iowa and recently graduated from Iowa State University with a Master of Science in plant pathology. We are excited to welcome Hayley aboard! Read more about Hayley.
Practical Farmers of Iowa and Renewing the Countryside are partnering on a land access boot camp in Newton on Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The day-long session is designed for farmers with 10 or less years of experience, who are ready to begin or are actively searching for land or are working to change their current land situation.

In this course, you will craft a plan to help you move forward. We'll cover:

  • resources for finding and assessing land
  • owning versus leasing
  • key considerations for planning your financing and structuring your business plan. 

Registration is just $10 for PFI members. For non-members, the cost is $25 per farmer, plus $10 for additional farm partners. Lunch will be provided. Learn more and register here!
Ridge tillage is a system used mainly in row crop production that allows for some cultivation while reducing soil erosion and improving soil quality. Many vegetable producers, such as Middle Way Farm’s Jordan Scheibel, want to gain the soil-building benefits of this conservation tillage practice on their farms.

Brian Caldwell managed a Cornell research project that trialed ridge-till systems for organic vegetable production. Together, Brian and Jordan will present on best practices for adopting a conservation tillage systems 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. 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.
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.

Michael's presentation highlighted the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi, microscopic soil communities and our crops and how the fungal network can help foster resilience in ecosystems.

Get notified of all annual conference session as they're uploaded by subscribing to our YouTube channel: youtube.com/pfivideos.
Did you leave a serving utensil at the annual conference potluck?
We had a wonderful evening sharing nourishing conversation and delicious food with everyone! We also have a box full of serving utensils that were not claimed by their owners. If you left something behind, please email debra@practicalfarmers.org or call the office at (515) 232-5661 to check if we have it here. We'd love to get these items back to the rightful owners. Thank you for all you tasty contributions this year!
Bret Pierce of Woodward was featured in Farm2Ranch: Farmers see gains with cover crops

Jack Boyer of Reinbeck was featured on WHO Radio's The Big Show about his research on interseeding cover crops into 60" row corn.
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.