Published May 2, 2014

More! Members sound off on what Practical Farmers should do differently

By Teresa Opheim
Peake Field Dan

Members want even more opportunities to talk with each other, as they did at the Peake Field Day last summer


Is there anything you would like Practical Farmers to do differently in the coming year? We asked this question on our most recent member survey. Not surprisingly, the responses were incredibly varied. My favorites? “Perform miracles” and “Find a way to guarantee farmers at least minimum wage.” The most common response? “More events.” (I guess 140 events per year, which is what we had in 2013, were not enough!) Many members offered that they thought their region did not have as many events as it should.

Below is a smattering of the responses we received. What do you think? Some advice you have that is not included here? Let me know at

Continue to work with a cross section of Iowa farmers and farming visions

Focus on legacy planning

Emphasize crop diversity

More on cover crops practical info

Keep up livestock, mob grazing, cattle programming

Keep the back-patting to a minimum during events

Keep working on beginning farmers and being a link for farmers regarding conservation and alternative energy

More social media presence

Continue to promote cover crops

Talk more about mental and emotional health related to stresses of farm life

Have small local working groups

Talk about crop share agreements, cooperative models for large and small operations, labor and equipment sharing

More policy work

Anything that would reduce soil erosion and improve soil health

Information on GMO/glyphosate danger signs,

Additional cover crop varieties and rotations

Have program to help build overall soil health

More on organic food production and marketing

Improve landowner/land seeker web site (FindAFarmer)

Continue to expand researching and testing around practices that improve sustainability and that have an economic incentive

More farminars

Focus on attracting conventional farmers to join and feel comfortable at the conference

Move specific case studies of farms transitioning

Need to have an organization which can agree on goals and agree to disagree respectfully on methods to reach these goals

Online workshop series on hogs again.  More resources for stating a dairy

We have had 2 years of extreme drought in our region and need to start thinking differently about growing crops for our livestock

Help producers with livestock health treatment (vaccination protocols, facilities design)

Explore impact sheep can have in high density grazing

Research grazing opportunities that could replace row crop on erodible ground

Get in the news more often–more people should know about us

Continue to use a voice that engages people, not separate them

Require more of beginning farmer program participants

Help with smart and effective marketing practices

Host a barn dance and social

More research that facilitates increased grass production

I think it is time to take on more policy issues….especially around sustainable farm management, water quality, climate change, etc.

Better monitoring of email lists

Keep working to help young farmers in Iowa

Focus on building a local food economy

Prepare young farmers even more carefully so they have a better chance of success

Continue to increase focus on alternative energy

I hope PFI can stay at a reasonable size and not grow too fast

More livestock field days

How can you make us better friends and consumers?

More orchard programs

I think PFI is going in the right direction with offering for-pay consulting. I hope the progress continues and the practicalities get worked out.