Published May 10, 2011

Practical Farmers of Iowa Announces Its 2011 Field Day Schedule

By Ann Seuferer

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2011 Field Day Guide is hot off the press and features more than 35 on-farm learning opportunities throughout the state. The guide will be mailed later this week to all PFI members and is available now on line as a downloadable PDF.

PFI field days showcase innovative farming practices, share on-farm research results, provide networking opportunities and build urban-rural understanding. Field days give participants a chance to get outside and enjoy Iowa at its best while taking in the variety of topics, tours, learning, entertainment and food that define these events. “PFI field days give me the chance to observe, listen and network with others who have the same interests or goals,” explains PFI board member Gail Hickenbottom. “I walk away from a PFI field day feeling greatly rewarded!”

This year’s lineup includes the latest grazing practices, using high tunnels to extend the growing season and capture rainwater for irrigation, as well as, succession planning for passing family farms to the next generation, four field days that feature a variety of alterative energy forms and many more. “When I get my Field Day Guide, I read through every one of the field days and pick out the most unique ones that apply to what I’m doing,” says PFI member and farmer Earl Hafner of Panora. “I always learn something new.”

Earl will be hosting a field day this year about Aquaponics. “We’re going to see if fish can grow vegetables,” he jokes. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that in Hafner’s case combines raising fish (aquaponics) with raising vegetables in water without soil (hydroponics). Earl is hoping Aquaponics will catch on as a way for farm families to increase their income and have more time together while producing wholesome food.

Most field days are free, and everybody is welcome to all of them. For a copy of the 2011 Field Day Guide, you can call the PFI office at 515.232.5661.

It takes many sponsors to make these field days possible. Practical Farmers of Iowa recognizes the following sustaining sponsors: Albert Lea Seedhouse, American Natural Soy, Iowa Farmers Union, ISU Extension, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Seed Savers, and USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), in addition to the following major sponsors: Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA), CROPP Cooperative of Organic Valley/Organic Prairie Family of Farms and Iowa State University Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture.