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PFI’s winter farminar series continues on Tuesday

By Staff | Jan 13, 2012

AMES – Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2012 winter weekly farminar series continues Tuesday.

The eight-week online series started Jan. 10 and continues each Tuesday, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. through March 13.

Farminars provide an opportunity for farmers to learn from other farmers in the winter season without having to travel. Any computer with an Internet connection may be used to participate.

“Farminars add value to your life; they give you a different perspective,” said Kathy Barkalow, of Oxford. “I would highly recommend you watch them, even if you aren’t a member of PFI.

“There is a wide range of topics covered, from livestock to produce, and PFI’s farminars are very simple to participate in.”

This season’s presenters include a farmer and his accountant, vegetable farmers operating community supported agriculture programs, row crop and livestock farmers, graziers, farmer’s market veterans and pastured poultry farmers.

Topics include tax preparation, business feasibility, pricing, pest management, recordkeeping, farmer’s market profitability, and adding small grains and livestock to a row crop farm.

The winter farminar lineup includes:

  • Jan. 17: “Scale and profit: A financial snapshot of three community supported agriculture businesses” – Blue Gate Farm, Fair Share Farm and Grinnell Heritage Farm.

This farminar is targeted to those currently operating or thinking about starting a CSA. It will help CSA farmers determine the proper scale for their business based on skill level, farm size and markets.

The presenters will cover profit potential, legal structure, goals and vision.

  • Jan. 24: “Insect pest management in organic vegetable production” led by Kate Edwards, of Solon, and Steve Pincus, from south central Wisconsin.

Participants will learn organic-approved strategies to mitigate the damage caused by flea beetles, cucumber beetles, thrips, European corn borer, cabbage root maggot and aphids.

  • Jan. 31: “Profitable recordkeeping,” with Joel Winnes, of Waukon, and Ryan Herman, of New Albin.

The session is designed with farm profitability in mind, focusing on how to track expenses and income, and collect data that can help farmers make informed business decisions.

  • Feb. 7: “Improve your farmer’s market sales” with John Wesselius, of Sioux Center, and Dru Montri, of Bath, Mich. Coming home from market with only $50 and a vehicle full of product can be discouraging. Participants will learn how to calculate the costs of attending farmer’s markets, how to set a farmer’s market income goal and strategies to reach that goal and achieve a profit that’s worthy of the effort.
  • Feb. 21: “Integrate small grains into large grain row crops and integrated livestock farms” with Wade Dooley, of Albion, and Tom Frantzen, of New Hampton. Farmers who attend this session will learn how adding alternative crops can reduce input costs and pest pressure while helping them raise more profitable and healthy livestock.
  • Feb. 28: “Pricing poultry: Eggs, broilers and turkeys,” with Garrett Caryl, of Marshalltown, and Kim Alexander, who operates farms in western Iowa and south central Texas. Many consumers are demanding “farm fresh eggs” or “pastured poultry.” Participants will learn how to price and market their niche poultry products for profit.
  • March 6: “Determining whether your produce farm will flourish or wilt,” with Grant Schultz, of Eldridge, and Chris Blanchard, of Decorah. The presenters will talk about how to raise healthy food for the local community and make a profit. Participants will learn how to use financial sheets to guide their farms’ production systems, markets and scale.
  • March 13: “Long-term fertility management, adding livestock and longer crop rotations to reduce costs,” with Nathan Anderson, of Cherokee, and Ron Rosmann, of Harlan. High costs can quickly eat up profits. Learn how livestock management and longer rotations can increase profitability, while nurturing healthy soils, plants and animals on the farm.

For more information or to register, visit www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar.

Recordings of 44 previous farminars can also be viewed at this URL.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Winter 2012 Farminars are made possible with funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agricultureand the Ceres Foundation.

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