Published Mar 11, 2014

Seven steps to a more diverse, ecologically sound, and community enhancing farm

By Luke Gran

Are you a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI)? Before you can complete these seven steps, join Practical Farmers today!


Martha McFarland (left) listens in at the PFI 2014 Next Generation Retreat as Wendy Johnson (right) explains how she budgets for her hay and sheep farm enterprises to ensure profitability.

  1. Participate in one or more of the PFI members-only email discussion groups of interest to you – seven to choose from: pfigeneral, pfilivestock, pfihorticulture, pficovercrops, pfigardenandfood, pfisolar, and pfipolicy
  2. PFI Field Days – March through October – visit farmers who are growing and marketing small grains, cover crops, alfalfa hay, specialty crops and livestock. Travel across Iowa as far as you need to if the topic is the right fit. PFI members say they learn more in one field day than a year of research on their own. Last year, field day attendees traveled 70 miles one-way on average to attend our field days.
  3. Watch live farminar broadcasts – November through March – to learn from farmers online, for free 80 recorded sessions available online for free viewing as well.
  4. Attend the 2015 PFI Annual Conference in Ames, Iowa – January 22-25, 2015
  5. Attend an in-depth workshop of interest to you that we help organize periodically throughout the year. Here are some of the events we have hosted in the past: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Mini School, Next Generation Retreat, Tomato Grafting Short Course, High Tunnel Build, Holistic Management (Intro to HM), Holistic Management (Financials), Holistic Management (Pasture Management), and more!
  6. Consider organizing a BBQ/potluck for PFI members in your area to attend and get to know other PFI folks near you. PFI can help spread the word about the event if you wish to throw a party to meet more sustainable agriculture interested farmers, and landowners.
  7. Got a question about something (anything farming related at all) – call (515) 232-5661 and one of our staff will be happy to help connect you with farmers who may know something on the subject.

Lets take actions to work together to farm better this growing season! Join Practical Farmers today Read full details on membership benefits at: After you are a current member of Practical Farmers, take these actions in the next 12-months to help move towards a more diverse, ecologically sound, and community enhancing farm.


Luke Schuldt (center) shares his beginning crop and livestock farm story as his business “coach” Dick Schwab (left) listens.