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Practical Farmers of Iowa sets 2014 fall farminar series

By Staff | Nov 11, 2014

AMES – Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2014 fall farminar seven-part series is scheduled to begin Tuesday and continue each week through Dec. 23.

The free webinar series is offered to help farmers learn about business and production issues that matter to them from the convenience of their homes.

The interactive webinarswill occur each Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m..

To participate, go to practicalfarmers.org/farminar, click the link to connect and sign in as “Guest.”

Tuesday’s topic, “Business-Planning with Finances in Mind,” will focus on the financial sections of a business plan.

Janna Feldman, who operates a sheep and goat dairy near Honey Creek, will share examples from her worksheets.

Jim Patton, a retired banker and Iowa State University Extension director, will share advice on writing a financial plan.

Other farminar topics are:

  • Nov. 18: “Cut Flower Production,” by Lynn Byczynski, of Lawrence, Kansas. She will share tips and strategies for organically growing and marketing cut flowers.

She is the author of several how-to books for the market gardener, including “The Flower Farmer,” “Market Farming Success,” and “Hoophouse Handbook.”

  • Nov. 25: “Extending the Rotation Beyond Corn and Beans,” by Dick Sloan and Matt Liebman.

Sloan is a third-generation farmer whose farm included oats and alfalfa in the rotation during his father and grandfather’s time. Liebman is a professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. His recent work shows that extended crop rotations can lead to a reduced reliance on herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizer.

  • Dec. 2: “Getting Started in Dairy Farming” by beginning farmers Kevin Dietzel and John Gilbert

Dietzel and Gilbert are beginning farmers who will share their experiences starting a dairy farm, the land base needed, market opportunities and demand, capital investments and barriers along the way.

  • Dec. 9: “To Bee or Not to Bee-Keep: What are the Options?” by Adam Ebert, Susan Yario and Cheryl Daman.

This is for farmers who like the idea of having beehives on their property.

They will discuss how to find a beekeeper, and what to expect from and ask of a tenant beekeeper.

  • Dec. 16: “Haney and PLFA Soil Tests: What, How? Why?” by Fred Abels and Lance Gunderson.

Viewers will learn how soil tests can be used to improve soil management, the basics of two increasingly popular tests – the Haney and phospholipid fatty acid soil tests – from soil microbiologist Gunderson, including how results are determined and how to interpret them.

Abel, a farmer and grazier, will describe how he’s used the Haney test to guide his management.

  • Dec. 23: “Direct-Marketing Grain-Finished Beef” by Shanen and Beau Ebersole, and Dave Hill.

The Ebersoles, of Ebersole Cattle Co., will share their expertise raising grain-finished beef cattle with no hormones or antibiotics.

Learn about issues from production to marketing methods. They will answer beginning farmer Hill’s questions on starting up this type of enterprise.

Hill is in PFI’s Savings Incentive Program and raises conventional corn, soybeans and hay near Holy Cross. They plan to expand the operation to include a hormone- and antibiotic-free beef finishing enterprise, direct-marketing the product.

The Ebersoles own a small family ranch near Kellerton, where they raise Maine-Anjou cattle and Quarter Horses.

The Ebersoles have animal welfare approved certification, and manage the ranch as naturally as possible without pesticides, chemicals, hormones or routine antibiotics.

PFI’s 2014 fall farminars are funded by Cedar Tree Foundation, Ceres Trust, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service, McKnight Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

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