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Practical Farmers lists fall farminar series

By Staff | Nov 8, 2013

FORT DODGE – With another growing season ending, Practical Farmers of Iowa has set its 2013 fall farminar schedule.

Topics featured this season includes insuring apple orchards; efficient marketing and distribution of local foods; tools and systems for improving vegetable transplant production; improving the profit-potential of grass-based livestock; and building relationships to improve vegetable crop marketing.

Practical Farmers will also produce a day-time series focused on row crops and winter farminar evening series.

This free online seminar series is offered each autumn to help farmers learn about business and production issues that matter to them from the convenience of their homes.

The interactive webinars, called farminars, occur each Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. starting Tuesday and going through Dec. 10, except for Thanksgiving week.

Any computer with an Internet connection may be used to participate. Most farminars are led by farmers, and many are presented in a “fish-bowl” format where attendees listen as an experienced farmer answers a beginning farmer’s questions.

Farminars air live online and allow participants to ask questions of presenters in real-time.

To participate: Go to www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar, click the link to connect and sign in as “guest.”

Pre-registration is not required, but those who register will receive reminder emails one week and one day in advance. All upcoming and archived farminars, as well as free audio podcasts of past farminars, are also available at this link.

Tuesday’s presentation “Crop Insurance by Written Agreement for Apple Orchards in Iowa,” is geared toward farmers growing specialty crops, since these crops are difficult to insure in Iowa.

Phil Larabee, licensed insurance agent in Cedar Rapids, will discuss the fundamentals of how crop insurance works and how he managed to insure his family’s 3.5-acre apple orchard near Sabula.

“I tell other Iowa apple growers that we have our orchard crop insured,” Larabee said, “and they tell me they didn’t think you could do that in Iowa.

“I’m here to share what we have done and how we cover our basic expenses in the event of a crop loss, and, hopefully, take away some of the stress and anxiety for other apple farmers.”

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2013 fall farminars are made possible with funding from Ag Ventures Alliance, Grain Millers, John Deere, 211 individual donors to the “100 Days, 100 Beginners” fundraising campaign, Farm Credit Services of America, CERES and The Cedar Tree Foundation.

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