Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Meet a Co-Hort: Jason Jones
Jason Jones owns and operates Star Grass Farm near Maxwell, Iowa, where he raises certified organic produce and eggs. Jason and his family sell their food at the Ames Main Street Farmers Market, Iowa Food Co-op, and through web-based direct sales.
Why you grow horticulture crops, in 5 or fewer words: I love growing everything.
Something you’re excited about trying this year: I am excited about trying to do less this year. I think most people who farm are always thinking big. This year I'm focusing on taming that beast.
What you would change about your industry: I would change whatever is necessary to ensure clean water and full bellies. Preventing or outlawing externalized costs would be a great first step. 
Favorite PFI memory: My favorite memory is traveling with Rick Exner to take samples from piglets on Tom Frantzen's farm (do these names age me at all?). This was my first glimpse of the camaraderie and cooperation that has made PFI what it is. And my first time chasing a piglet!
Favorite crop and why: Watermelon, hands down. I'm a sugar addict and watermelon is a perfect way to get a healthy fix
“We love that we get to live our dream and raise our family while providing delicious food for people in central Iowa.”
- Jason Jones
Check out the full slate of PFI field days on our website, and watch your mailbox for your copy of the field day guide, arriving soon!

Once you know which field days you plan to attend, visit our website to RSVP on each field day page.
New, comprehensive resource for commercial veggie growers in the Midwest

The “Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2022” is a free resource from Purdue University.

The first step in treating pest problems is identifying the symptoms and the pest.

ISU’s Plant and Insect Diagnostic Lab is a great resource for identifying diseases and insects.
Friendly reminder to get your specialty crop farm listed on DriftWatch, a free service from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) that helps pesticide applicators know where specialty and organic crops are located so they can practice further caution near those areas. 
The more visible your farm, the better. Being listed helps protect your farm, and shows applicators and regulators the growing presence of specialty crops in Iowa.
Join us at Jeff and Deb Sindelar’s farm from 1-3 p.m. on June 16 to learn about honeyberries, an exciting season-extending crop opportunity for Iowa. 

An experienced grower and honeyberry enthusiast, Jeff recommends watching this video from the University of North Dakota to learn about all things honeyberries. Then RSVP here and plan to join us for the field day to see them in person and learn more from Jeff!
Upcoming events in the next month
All events listed in CDT
Hosted by: Jordan & Whitney Clasen
9 a.m.-5 pm | Earlham, IA

Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa
3-5 p.m. | Ames, IA

June 6: Webinar - Soil Health Learning Circle
Hosted by: Center for Rural Affairs
6 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Jeff & Deb Sindelar
1-3 p.m. | Newhall, IA
June 23: Field Day - Summer Beginning Farmer Social
Hosted by: Monika Owczarski & Amy Joens
5:30-7:30 p.m. | Des Moines, IA

Hosted by: Iowa Organic Association
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Kalona, IA

Hosted by: Heath Stolee
10 a.m.-1 p.m. | Radcliffe, IA

Hosted by: Mike & Donna Brahms & Family
2-4 p.m. | Griswold, IA
The amount of rainfall you’ve had at your farm this season is:
Just right
Way to little
Way too much
Previous poll results:

How do you start your transplants?
  • Soil blocks - (50%)
  • Combination of a couple of the above - (50%)
  • Plug trays - 0%
  • Buying in plugs works best for me - 0%
  • Winstrip trays - 0%
  • Something else- 0%
Send us your poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know. Reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Jacqueline Venner Senske
Horticulture Education Coordinator