Published Dec 12, 2009

2009 Nxt Gen Retreat: Complete!

By Luke Gran

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We just completed our spectacular Next Generation Retreat. In attendance were 27 fantastic farmer leaders and 4 facilitators.

The farmers were divided into two groups based on their experience level. All farmers had 10 year or less experience in their operation, most beginners had less than 1 year on their farm.

9 learned how to develop on-farm indicators of sustainability for their farms with Dr. Laura Lengnick and Dr. Susan Kask from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.

18 planners identified their core values, and their vision for their farm operation. Shepherded with the guidance of Holistic Management Trainer Dr. Margaret Smith they are on their way to a three part holistic goal and even greater focus for their farm. They analyzed a real-life farm marketing example and then identified their own product, qualities, and likely customers. They shared ideas for creating a farm brochure, for talking about their farm and the products. Finally, they created a PFI “Pent-opoly Timeline,” a five year plan for success and shared their ideas with their supportive colleagues.

Participation, interaction, motivation, and farm planning excitement levels were high. Spirits ran higher and a friendly atmosphere enveloped the central Iowa retreat center.

With outstanding farmer members like those of Practical Farmers of Iowa and the great new ones coming along, there is much reason for Jubilation!

JOIN us at the Annual Conference January 8-9, 2010

There will be a Next Generation Lunch on Friday for a great chance to hang-out together. Saturday lunch beginning farmers pair up for a Mentor Lunch with an established farmer of their enterprise of interest.
Finally on Saturday afternoon, there will be a beginning farmer cluster to discuss issues for beginning farmers and what PFI can do in 2010 to help get started farming.