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PFI members to share vision of farms by 2035

By Staff | Dec 11, 2009

MARSHALLTOWN – Practical Farmers of Iowa is celebrating 25 years of networking, cooperation, learning, and developing diverse farms, healthful food, and vibrant communities at its 2010 annual conference set for Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 on the Marshalltown Community College campus.

Four PFI members will offer their vision of their farms, Iowa agriculture, and PFI 25 years from now.

James Frantzen, of New Hampton, will talk about tradition, innovation and sustainability.

Kayla Koether, of McGregor, will weigh whether to become an Iowa farmer.

Andy Johnson, of Decorah, will speak about working landscapes as an inspiring national self-portrait.

Jan Libbey, of Kanawha will focus on moving toward a more community-based agriculture in 2035.

Friday evening will include a screening of the newly completed film Big River, which explores the environmental implications of high-intensity corn production.

Dave Baker, from the Beginning Farmer Center, will be available for private consultations.

Grazing consultant Gearld Fry, and farmer and agri-businessman Gary Zimmer, will conduct one-on-one coffee shop talks on Jan. 9.

Other highlights include a business meeting, member posters, Iowa-grown meals, mentor lunch, silent auction, and many opportunities to network with fellow farmers and agriculture advocates.

The conference offers a diverse line-up of workshops, organized according to the priorities of members of Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Friday’s workshops include:

  • Getting the Most from Your Fertilizer Dollar, Gary Zimmer, Midwestern Bio-Ag.
  • A Diner’s Guide to Local Food Trends, Donna Prizgintas, chef; and Joyce Lock, culinary professional.
  • What If? Glimpses of the Future You Can Help Shape, Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; and Teresa Opheim, PFI.
  • What’s Your Beef? How to Go Gourmet, Gearld Fry, Bovine Engineering and Consulting.
  • To Market, To Market, by Larry Cleverley, Cleverley Farms; Rick Hartmann, Small Potatoes Farm; and Jill Beebout and Sean Skeehan, Blue Gate Farm, and Craig Chase, ISU.

Saturday’s workshops include:

  • Discussion on the keynote addresses.
  • Finding success in succession.
  • Major pests and solutions.
  • Manure handling and nutrient cycles.
  • Writing your farm or garden.
  • Plant essential oils as seed treatments.
  • CSA pricing: What’s fair?
  • Prairie provides on-farm heat.
  • Aging parents, growing children.
  • High-value tree crops.
  • Managing herbicide-resistant weeds.
  • Making cents of niche pork production.
  • Cluster meetings on different sessions for fruits and vegetables; beginning farmers; beef, dairy, poultry, sheep and goats; and field crops.
  • U-Pick: Attendees write their requests on their registration form, and sessions will be organized to accommodate as many ideas as possible.

Registration is due by Dec. 31. Register online at www.practicalfarmersorg/jubilee, or by calling (515) 232-5661.

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