Published Apr 7, 2010

What’s going on in the office?

By Teresa Opheim

What’s going on in the offices of Practical Farmers of Iowa?

A lot:

Field Days, Field Days
Staff are finishing lining up field days for the upcoming summer and fall, and getting commitments from our many wonderful sponsors. We’ll be in touch soon on the full slate of offerings.

Ready to Launch!
A committee of members has been helping PFI set the details for our exciting new Savings Incentive Program, which will provide a savings match for participating beginning farmers. Watch for more information on this Jubilee celebration campaign!

Grazin’ with Kevin
We’re thrilled to have new staff member Kevin Dietzel on board, and not just because he brought homemade cheese to the staff meeting yesterday.:) Kevin is settling in, making calls, and getting to know you all. Most immediately, he and Suzi will be staffing a day-long workshop, “High Density Grazing with Greg Judy,” in Calmar on April 21. Contact Kevin for more information:

Cover Crop conference
Sarah helped organize a meeting of the Midwest Cover Crop Council, held in Ames in March with 125 attending. Half of the attendees were farmers. A highlight was a presentation that included PFI farmers Steve Berger, Ron Rosmann and Gary Guthrie. Stay tuned for upcoming spring cover crop field days.

Mr. Dooley Goes to Washington
Sarah and PFI members Wade Dooley and Jerry Peckumn attended Drake University’s Beginning Farmer Conference in Washington, D.C., in March. The conference was a success in large part because of Matt Russell’s organization skills. Matt is a PFI farmer and employee of Drake.

Extending the Season
We’ve received a new grant from the Ceres Foundation, so Sally is ramping up to offer a full slate of programming on season extension, including another hoophouse building session this summer at the farm of Rob and Tammy Faux. She’s also arranging for field days on energy efficiencies with walk-in coolers, commercial-scale root cellars, and more.

Time Together for the Staff and Board
The PFI Staff and Board each met in March in Ames for retreats and a meal together. The Board retreat focused on developing a plan of work for this year, which includes launching the Savings Incentive Program and developing an Estate Planning Policy for PFI. The Staff focused on topics like running meetings efficiently and elements of a healthy workplace.

What an Online Presence
PFI, led by Luke, held 16 Farminars this fall and winter, and tech-savvy Luke has run the numbers: 713 people participated live, and the archives of the Farminars were viewed 3,386 times. 60 percent of the participants were not PFI members, and 20 percent were not from Iowa—reminding us that PFI is a national leader.

Help! And Suzi and Renee Do
PFI has more than 20 grants that help us provide the amount of programming that we do—and all of them require management help. Suzi, our Finance and Benefits Manager, takes care of a lot of the important details that keep our office running efficiently. Renee (when she’s not keeping kids in line through her substitute teaching) has taken over some of Suzi’s office tasks. Both are lifesavers around the office.