Published Mar 19, 2015

PFI Farminars: 100 and Counting

By Steve Carlson

This week Practical Farmers of Iowa held our 102nd farminar. Starting back in November of 2009, these 90 minute webinar presentations have been incredibly popular for both members and non-members alike. I thought I’d take a moment to share some information about just how awesome this farminar series is.

Purpose: Education for farmers, by farmers

Born out of a need to create more accessible learning opportunities for beginning farmers, the farminars have always been free and open to the public. The first farminar topics were taken directly from suggestions made on PFI membership surveys. Over 6 years later our planning process hasn’t changed—and although we may receive more feedback as our membership grows, we still listen.

Farminar screenshotOver the years the style for these presentations has varied slightly according to the topic, but a reoccurring format for tackling an issue is the combination of pairing a beginning farmer with an experienced farmer or expert. This format generates a range of knowledge—the expert can delve further into subjects for the more advanced farmer, and the beginning farmer offers insight and raises questions that are helpful for many other less-advanced farmers.

Timing: Whatever works for you

For many PFI members, if you’re free after dinner on a Tuesday night between November and March, then you know what to do. Tuning in to a farminar on a cold, dark Tuesday night in February is a great way to interact with other farmers and soak up some knowledge.

Still, as fun as it is to tune into a live farminar, it’s just not always possible. This is made clear by the huge amount of traffic we get to our farminar archive. If you haven’t explored the vast amount of information in the archive, then I suggest you do. You’d be surprised. You can search by key word or sort by member priorities (cover crops, livestock, horticulture, etc.) to find what you’re looking for.

Search the Farminar Archives

Search the Farminar Archives

Success: It’s in the numbers (OK, and the words)

As of March 19, 2015, we have 102 farminars under our belt and in the archives. There have been 4,415 participants to the live farminars (average of 43 participants/farminar), and 36,104 archived farminar views (average of 354/farminar), for a total of about 40,500 views.  And whether we ask about them or not, people always tell us how valuable they are:

“I really appreciate the time and effort put in to these webinars. Both PFI and the presenters.”

“I love the farminars. I can tune in when I have time :)”

“Topics are great. The fact that the presenters have firsthand knowledge of their topics, gives more depth to the subject being discussed.”

“These are always great and I am ever so pleased that I can (and do) rewatch them. I can take much more extensive notes as I pause and replay.”

Most Popular: Over 1,000 views in the archive

Making Niche Pork Work for You at Any Scale
Ethan Book, Kate Edwards, Philip Kramer

Cover Crop Options for Prevented Planting Acres in Iowa
Jim Frederick, Jim Gillespie, Kevin Erickson, Barb Stewart, Bob Hartzler, Sarah Carlson

Grow Vegetables Year-Round
Adam Montri (Ten Hens Farm)

Whole Farm Planning (Farminar #1)
Dave Baker (ISU Extension Beginning Farmer Center)

Staff Picks: A few of our favorites

Extending the Rotation Beyond Corn and Beans
Dick Sloan, Matt Liebman

Successfully Aerially Seeding Cover Crops
Andrew Moore, Brian Best, Jamie Scott

Custom Grazing with Goats
Lani Malmberg, Doug Bartels

Pesticide Drift: Response and Compensation
Rob Faux