January 20-21, 2017, Scheman Building, Ames

Pass it on

Passing on of knowledge from farmer to farmer works because farmers are credible to each other. Within Practical Farmers network, farmers feel comfortable openly sharing information and admitting they don’t know it all. They recognize constant exploration fosters ongoing innovations on their farms, improving their profitability, providing ecosystem services and promoting vibrant communities.

Attend to be part of the 30+ year tradition of information-sharing! Join in as farmers share how they conserve both money and soil, grow and market a multitude of crops, practice sound financial and production recordkeeping, access land and capital, pass on the farm to the next generation, and more.

Thursday, January 19


1 – 7  p.m.  SHORT COURSE

Friday, January 20




Noon –  4:30 p.m. CHILDCARE OPEN


12:30 – 2 p.m.  ROUND I — FRIDAY WORKSHOPS

2-3 p.m.  BREAK




5:30 – 6:30 p.m.  KEYNOTE

7 – 11 p.m. POTLUCK

Saturday, January 21


Noon –  4:30 p.m. CHILDCARE OPEN



11:30 –  12:30 p.m. LUNCH –MUST HAVE A TICKET




Membership Options

PFI members receive a discount!  

Membership Options

Farm/Household– One registration covers all members of a farm/household membership  $60

Organization– Two members per membership $110

Individual– Covers one member $50

Student-covers one student and gets extra discount for conference (must show ID)

Click here to become a member. 


Non- Member Rates

Short Course (priced per person) – $70

Short Course Boxed Lunch $15

Friday Sessions $50

Saturday Sessions $70

Saturday Lunch  Adult $15 – Child $7

Member Rates

Short Course (priced per person) $55

Short Course Boxed Lunch $15

Friday Sessions $35

Saturday Sessions $55

Saturday Lunch  Adult $15 – Child $7

Childcare (per child)

Friday  $20

Saturday $40


Pre-registration is open until January 12, 2017. After January 12 you will need to register as a “walk-in” at the conference. If you are mailing your conference registration please postmark by January 12.
No refund requests honored after January 12. A $5 administrative fee will be deducted from refunds requested in writing before that date. Please submit refund requests to [email protected] or mail to 600 5th Street, Suite 100 Ames, IA 50010.

Any questions about membership or registration, email [email protected]

Friday Sessions

Round I

Profitable Vertical Integration of Livestock

A Decade of Cover Crop Research

Lessons Learned: First 5 Years of Farming

Business Nuts and Bolts for Transition to Organic Grain Production

Farm Financial Record Keeping and Planning

Getting Started in Your First High Tunnel

Keeping the Farm and Paying for End-of- Life Care

Round II

Profitable Vertical Integration of Livestock

Insects and Soil Health

Lessons Learned: First 10 Years of Farming

Organic Weed Control

High Profits with a No-Till Farming System

Profitably Managing Your Market Mix



Saturday Sessions

Round I

Cover Crops 201

Building Soil Fertility on a Farm

Managing Weeds More Successfully

The Natural Medicine Chest for Livestock Health and Wellness

Deep Winter Greenhouse at Lida Farm

Saving Bacon: The Conservation of Traditional Breed Pigs

Transfering the Farm: Lessons from the Past

Hobby Farmer Meet- Up

Round II

Pollinator Conservation and Risk Assessment

Intercropping for Multiple Goals in a Vegetable System

When Am I Ready to Access Business Capital

Improving Family Communications

Giant Ragweed Roundtable

Round III

Cover Crops and Conservation on Rented Ground

Growing Profitable Small Grains in Iowa

Planning for the Next Generation

Lady Boss Panel: Hiring and Managing Employees

Business Plan Vetting

Round IV

Record Keeping for Organic Vegetable Production

Growing High-Yield Organic Corn

Q & A with Jonathan Lundgren

Grazing Cover Crops

Expanding Markets and Creating Identity at Hansen’s Dairy

Nut Production and Marketing  Q&A

Non Farmers: Learn How to Become a Farmer Advocate!

Farm Transfer Roundtable

Round V

Roller Crimping Cover Crops

Building Relationships to Access Land

Water Quality Monitoring

Goat Production for Ethnic Markets



Keynote Speakers

Three Renowned Iowa Farmers Pass It On

Practical Farmers member Nathan Anderson says: “PFI’s annual conference is like walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Instead of seeing names of your stars in concrete, they are standing there in front of you.”

In our keynote address, three PFI “guiding stars” will take the stage, stand before us and share words of wisdom. Vic Madsen, Susan Jutz and Dan Wilson are all past presidents of Practical Farmers of Iowa who received Practical Farmers’ Sustainable Agriculture Award. From their decades of farming and involvement in our community, each of these farmers will share three things they feel are most important to pass on.

Susan Jutz,Dan Wilson, Vic Maden

Susan Jutz

Solon, Iowa, PFI board member 1998-2007, board president 2002 – 2006, 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Award recipient

Susan Jutz owned and operated ZJ Farm, a diversified vegetable and sheep farm from 1994 until she passed the farm on to beginning farmer Carmen Black in 2016. Susan co-founded one of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in Iowa, helping pave the way for this model of farming in Iowa. Susan has shared her knowledge at numerous field days, has been a long-time participant in Practical Farmers’ on-farm research and has mentored several aspiring or beginning farmers over the years.

Susan: “To me, sustainable agriculture is like a dance with your community, with your land, with your environment, to adapt to the ever-changing world. Right now we’re dealing with a volatile climate. What worked for me 10 years ago isn’t working now. The only way I can be effective is to keep experimenting with ways to achieve a better balance.”

Vic Madsen

Audubon, Iowa, PFI board member 1991-1996, 2015-present, board president 1993-1994, 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Award recipient, along with his wife, Cindy

Vic and Cindy Madsen have farmed together since 1970. The Madsens raise corn, soybeans, oats, hay, farrow-to-finish hogs, broilers and beef cattle. Initial on-farm research had them questioning whether they could reduce nitrogen applications. This curiosity led the Madsens down a path that took them from 100 percent conventional to 100 percent organic. They participated in various research trials over the years, and have generously passed on their lessons to others through field days, outreach and mentorships.

Vic: “In the mid-‘80s, we realized there had to be a better way for us than conventional. After our research and learning from others in Practical Farmers, we realized proper soil management and rotations worked. We attribute 95 percent of our changed practices to what we learned through PFI.”

Dan Wilson

Paullina, Iowa, PFI board member 2007-2015, board president 2013-2015, 2016 Sustainable Agriculture Award recipient, along with his wife, Lorna

Dan and Lorna Wilson own and operate Seven W Farms. Dan began farming with his father in 1972; the Wilsons’ children are the third generation to farm family land, the fourth to be farmers. The family raises organic row crops, pastured pork and chickens, dairy cattle, grass-fed lamb and beef, and free-range eggs. Dan and Lorna have served as long-time leaders by conducting on-farm research, hosting many field days and serving as mentors to beginning farmers. Central to Dan and Lorna’s farming philosophy is ensuring the next generation comes back to the farm.

Dan: “A tremendous farmland transition is about to take place in Iowa, as elderly landlords begin to pass on. Many farmers will lose farmland – their source of livelihood – during this transition, unless we tackle these issues. PFI is going to play a huge role in this process. Making communities more vibrant and farms more viable is what Practical Farmers was made to do.”

Important Information

Regional Breakfast Meeting

Sit down for coffee with your region.  Meet and greet other people in your part of the state. We also have a table for out of state attendees.


Please bring a side dish and beverage to share. PFI will provide a main dish, water and tableware. This year’s hosts will be Ty and Bobbie Gustafson from Story City Locker.

Items can be dropped off on the ground floor at Scheman. A table will be designate and we will transport from there.

Potluck is held at CMPI Event Center in Ames.

Silent Auction

Please donate to our silent auction! We are looking for books, seeds, plant stock, gift baskets and handmade items. Proceeds provide PFI with funds to be member-directed. If you would like an item please email [email protected]

Business Update/Award

Join us at 4:45 p.m. to get a summary of our work in 2016 and hear plans for 2017. Board elections will also take place; please come a vote.

At 5:15 p.m., we will present the Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award.

Hotel Information

PFI reserves a block of rooms at discounted rates at the following hotels:

BEST WESTERN Plus University Park Inn & Suites

2500 University Boulevard, Ames
To reserve at a discounted rate:
Call 515/296-2500 and mention Practical Farmers of Iowa
To reserve a room online, click here.

Gateway Hotel

2100 Green Hills Drive, Ames
To reserve at a discounted rate:
Call 515/292-8600 and mention Practical Farmers of Iowa 
$114 per night

Holiday Inn

2609 University Blvd
To reserve at a discounted rate:
 Please email [email protected] with questions.

Childcare is provided by high school students from Scattergood Farms. We provide snacks each day and lunch on Saturday. Must pre-register for childcare, NO DROP-IN!

Friday       Noon-4:30 p.m. $20 per child

Saturday   8:15 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Please email [email protected] with questions.

2017 Sponsors and Exhibitors

Thank you to all of our Sponsors and Exhibitors for the 2017 Annual Conference!

If you are interested in sponsoring the conference, please contact conference coordinator Kathy Eastman at [email protected], 515-255-0882 or Steve Carlson at [email protected], 515-232-5661

Level A

Ben Hinueber
Albert Lea, MN
Gina Asoudegan
Bridgewater, NJ
Jessie VanderPoel
Eden Prairie, MN
Laura Crowell
Des Moines, IA
Harry Edwards
Hooksett, NH

Level B

Ralph Altmaier
Coralville, IA
Dana Ardary
West Des Moines, IA
Linda Naeve
Ames, IA
Claire Masesan
Evanston, IL
Julie JG Minot
Ames, IA
Paul Stewart
Minnetonka, MN
Philip Kramer
Hardy, IA
Pamela Ryan
Cedar Falls, IA
Jeff Mattocks
Bainbridge, PA
John Whitaker
Urbandale, IA
Brad Law
King City, MO

Level C

Blue River Hybrids
Erika Brodersen
Ames, IA
Center for Rural Affairs
Anna Johnson
Lyons, NE
Des Moines Water Works
Jennifer Terry
Des Moines, IA
Hall Roberts’ Son,INC
Dan Hayes
Postville, IA
Iowa Cover Crop
James Holz
Grand Junction, IA
Des Moines, IA
Riverside Feeds, LLC
James Frantzen
Riceville, IA
Spring Grove, MN
Sun Rise Sheds
Zach Funk
Redfield, IA

Level D

Kari Carney
Des Moines, IA
Mary Swander
Kalona, IA
American National Insurance
Maureen Eickholt
Council Bluffs,IA
Alexandra Frantz
Marion, VA
Mike Badger
Hughesville, PA
Cindy McCollough
Webster City, IA
John Rosenow
Cochrane, WI
Eric Phipps
Rembrandt, IA
Gingrich Enterprises Inc.
Ross Gingrich
Roanoke, IL
Kerry Hoffschneider
Omaha, NE
Colten Catterton
Bladen, NE
IDALS & ISU FSMA Produce Safety Rule Team
Dr. Angela Shaw
Des Moines, IA
Contact:  Dan Loy
Ames, IA
Mike Robertson
Fort Dodge, IA
Penny Brown Huber
Ames, IA
Stephanie Groom
Des Moines, IA
Steve Ferguson
Des Moines, IA
Randy Cummings
Winslow, ME
Ben Addington
La Crosse, WI
Len Nuest
Monticello, IN
Carmen Black
Minneapolis, MN
Faye Rudsenske
Albert Lea, MN
Luke Gran
Nevada, IA
Kathy Dice
Wapello, IA
Tom Wahlberg
Decorah, IA
Laverne Klecker
Hope, MN
Ashley Kittle
Cedar Falls, IA
Doug Follmann
Webster City, IA
Mitch Hermiston
Coralville, IA

Level E

Risa DeMasi
Salem, OR
Christ Roddy
Rod Swoboda
Urbandale, IA