Published Oct 6, 2010

2011 PFI Annual Conference Sneak Peak

By Sarah Carlson
We are proud to give you advanced notice of a dynamite lineup for the next PFI annual conference, Jan. 7-8, 2011, at Marshalltown Community College. More details coming soon to your mailbox and on the PFI website.

Keynote Address

Farming Without Subsidies: New Zealand’s Journey

Mike and Sharon Barton, Lake Taupo Basin, New Zealand

Last year’s annual conference keynoters were homegrown PFI farmers. The 2011 annual conference will feature farmers from half way around the world: Mike and Sharon Barton, who finish beef cattle on their 350-acre farm in New Zealand’s Lake Taupo Basin.

Farmers in New Zealand used to have a variety of federal agricultural subsidies, including agricultural price supports, low-interest loans, and disaster relief. Then, in the 1980s, New Zealand changed all that, in a move endorsed by the country’s farming organizations. Now government assistance to agriculture is primarily in the form of funding for agricultural research.

For our Friday evening keynote address (note the new time for the keynote this year), Mike and Sharon will talk about this sometimes painful shift to farming without subsidies and how the New Zealand experiment now works well for this nation where 90 percent of total farm output is exported and most of the food consumed is domestically produced.

Friday Workshops

Cheese and Crackers: Done Locally

Lois Reichert, Donna Prizgintas, Earl Hafner, Tomoko Ogawa

Iowans are making some superb cheeses! Learn from cheese maker Lois Reichert about the basic chemistry of cheese making and how different milks affect cheeses. To accompany the tasting of goat cheese, PFI staffer Tomoko Ogawa will serve crackers she made using Iowa-grown small grains. Chef Donna Prizgintas and farmer Earl Hafner will talk about how to access and eat Iowa-grown small grains.

Scaling Up Your Vegetable Operation

Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt

Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, New York, has scaled up from 30 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members to more than 1,100 shares located throughout the Hudson Valley, including New York City. Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt will talk about how they did it, including appropriately scaled equipment, crew management, harvest systems, crop rotation, and farm organization. With their production systems, they manage the farm with 11 employees during peak season.

Ridge-till, Strip-till, No-till, Oh My!

Ron Rosmann, Jeff Longnecker, George Schaefer, and Rob Stout

Reducing tillage can not only help decrease soil loss but also can decrease farmers’ energy use. But what tillage alternatives exist and which one fits your farm best? Learn from four farmers using conservation tillage in very different ways in their farming system: Ron Rosmann (ridge-tiller and organic crop and livestock production), Jeff Longnecker (strip-tillage, cover crops in corn and soybeans and beef cattle), Rob Stout (no-tillage and hog manure in corn and soybeans), and George Schaefer (conventional and organic no-till and organic crops and beef cattle).

Farmville – for Real!

Andy Larson, Rick Hartmann, Susan Jutz, Sean Skeehan, Jill Beebout, Tim Daley, Jerry Peckumn, Ryan Herman, and Dan Specht

This is a working session for those who want to farm or are in their first years of a new enterprise. Come work with Andy Larson to define your values, draw your vision, identify milestones, add your resource inventory (things you have, things you need, where you’ll get them), and define your goals. Have your plan analyzed by an expert farmer in your enterprise, and, if you choose, put your plans on display for other conference attendees. Expert farmers will come in for the last half (3-4:30 pm) to individually consult with beginners in their enterprise and provide advice and support.

Pasture Fencing and Watering Basics

David Petty, Jess Jackson, and Jason Schmidt

Everything you need to set up the necessary infrastructure for a rotational grazing system! What fence design options are there? Which fence materials work best for which systems or conditions? How do you design and set up a watering system for rotational grazing? We will hear from Jason Schmidt of Schmidt Fencing about fence design and materials options. David Petty will share his experiences from his farm – what fencing and watering systems he has used and how well (or poorly) they have worked. Jess Jackson of NRCS will fill us in on different grazing systems and how to fit fence designs and materials to your system, plus options for stock watering systems on pasture.

Saturday Workshops

Ruminating on Minerals

Vegetable Equipment for Farms 10-50+ acres

Biological Farming: For the Soil’s Sake, For Your Sake and for the Consumer’s Sake!

Scenarios of Your Future

Pastured Poultry System Potluck

Know Your Cuts of Meat

Soil Fertility Practices on Roxbury Farm

Busy All the Time, Never Overwhelmed

Farming with Nitrogen Limits: A New Zealand Perspective

Health Insurance and Rural Folks

Toward Energy Self-Sufficiency On-Farm

Making Milk Without Grain

Turtle Farm Succession: A Work in Progress

Don’t Give Weeds a Chance

Portion Patrol: Efficient CSA Distribution

Plus Cluster Meetings

Talk with farmers who grow what you grow: Field Crops, Poultry, Livestock, and Fruits and vegetables, plus a gathering of beginning farmers and a session for Friends of the Farmer (nonfarmers).

And U-Pick Sessions

Back by popular demand! From glyphosate resistance to selling your products to schools: YOU choose the topic for this session.

And so much more!