Published Feb 12, 2014

When the Cowbell Rings: Lifetime Members

By Teresa Opheim
The Lipes Family--the newest lifetime members of Practical Farmers

The Lipes Family–the newest lifetime members of Practical Farmers

At the PFI offices, whenever we hear the cowbell ring, it is good news! Erica and Lauren ring the bell whenever a new lifetime member has joined.

Lifetime membership takes the long view and is an extreme vote of confidence in the future of this organization. The cost for the membership is $1,000– and means we never again ask you to pay your membership fee.

Practical Farmers has 20 lifetime members so far:
John Brown
Kathy and Herb Eckhouse and La Quercia
Tom and Irene Frantzen
Gary and Nancy Guthrie
Paul Hertz
Gail Hickenbottom
Jack Knight
Tim Landgraf and Jan Libbey
Lipes Family Farm
Amy Miller
Byron Olson
Gayle and Jeff Olson
Teresa Opheim and Rich Schuler
Dick Schwab
In memory of Dan Specht (by James West)
Jennifer and Check Steffen
John and Angela Tedesco
Mark and Connie Tjelmeland
Kurt and Teresa Van Hulzen
Donald Whittaker

Greg and Katie Lipes and family, West Branch, are our newest lifetime members. Here’s their story, collected from their website:

“Neither of us grew up on a farm, but instead we have had a long journey leading to a desire to be farmers. We got really serious in 2008 when we decided to take a class for beginning farmers offered jointly by the University of Illinois Extension and The Land Connection. This program involved writing a business plan and ended with full time farm internships during the summer of 2009. Greg interned with Stan Schutte at Triple S Farms in order to learn about animal husbandry. Katie interned with Lisa Haynes at Tomahnous Farm in order to learn about organic vegetable and fruit production.

“After our internships we moved to Brooklyn, Wisconsin and started Lipes Family Farm in 2010. Greg was working full time to support the farm while Katie stayed home to care for the plants, animals and our new baby. Then in 2013, we decided that we were ready to have Greg start farming full time and with our two daughters in tow, we headed to West Branch, Iowa in order to be closer to family. We feel so blessed to be living our dream!”