It’s a Wrap: Impacts, Reflections and Recaps from 2015 PFI Field Days
2,248 of you joined us for 40 field days across Iowa this growing season. Whether it was your first for fortieth field day, thanks for coming and joining in the great conversations and learning (and food, of course!). In addition 1,989 attended the Farm Crawl, an event Practical Farmers is happy to be able to support that features seven member farms. And 43 attended our memorable bus tour to Gabe Brown’s ranch in North Dakota.
Below are field day reflections and evaluation data. In addition, there is a link to a summary of most of our field days. Big kudos to all the hardworking PFI staffers who remained vigilant in posting these during this busy time!
Average attendance per field day was 56, up from 46 in 2014. Again, thanks everyone for coming!
55% of attendees were members and 45% non-members. This was opposite last year: 45% members and 55% non-members.
90% rated field day quality as good or excellent.
99% reported some change in knowledge; 75% reported a large to very large change in knowledge.
As a result of attending, 84% of respondents are considering making a change. These include (not equal to 100%, could choose all that applied):
As a result of a previous field day, 78% of repeat attendees have made changes in:
Comments from attendees:
My whole farm exists thanks to PFI.
Almost all our friends are PFI people. Lots of discussion and support for making choices on our farm.
Glad to see permaculture and swales introduced to Iowa- will be very important in the future.
Interesting to see sheep production on a larger scale. We have 45 ewes. Great to see the whole family involved.
Very knowledgeable speakers – It’s always nice to have producers speaking.
Bin energy was interesting and I learned more than I thought coming in!
It’s great to hear about the frustrations and mistakes, as well as the successes. Thanks!
Great event and structure of event. Learned a lot from the farmers. Liked the tool examples and financial sharing. Very helpful!
Appreciate the sharing of knowledge and hospitality.
Chad did a very good job. It is obvious he knows what he is doing
I’m comforted that their blueberry plantings are a little messy-everyone has their specialties and things that don’t get as much attention.
Like the focus on farmers vs agency and/or programs. Practical way to deliver these practices.
Inspiring. Gives one hope that beginning/small farmers can thrive. Appreciate the emphasis on values. Networking is of high value.
Really great to see another farmer in the middle of figuring things out-reassuring to see questions as well as answers.
Very interesting topics for many people. Please keep doing multiple topics per field day!
Loved the interaction and the specifics given today.
The impacts field days have are a testament to the value of farmer-to-farmer education. This field day season was a success across the board. We staffers have some ideas to improve next year’s season, including: more farmer neighbors speaking alongside hosts, more presentation tips to farmers, more handouts and internal agendas for all speakers.
We have some great ideas already in the pipeline for 2016 field days based on all your feedback.
If you would like to share more about your experience at field days, provide suggestions for improvement or provide topic and speakers ideas for next year, I’d love to hear them. Please contact me at email@example.com.
Thank you to the field day hosts for your generous knowledge-sharing!
Field day recaps:
- Planning for a Permaculture Swale System on Pasture
- Lamb Production and Wholesale Marketing
- Multiple Benefits from Wetlands, Prairies and Cover Crops
- Rotations: Organic and Conventional Grains and Cattle Grazing
- Summer Solstice Picnic on the Prairie
- Conservation, Soil Health and On-Farm Energy
- Practical Talk on Pasture and Row Crop Farming
- Farm Production: Corn, Soybeans, Solar and Wind
- Hands-On High-Tensile Fence-Building Workshop
- Collaborative CSAs: Some Assembly Required
- Learning Together: Evaluating a Cover Crop Terminator
- Cover Crops: What, How and When?
- Optimizing the Herd Through Grass-Fed Genetics
- A Vegetable Farm Start-Up: The First 5 Years
- Cover Crops in Corn in July: Will They Make it to the Fall?
- Goats and Compost Partner for Soil Health
- On-Farm Safety for Agritourism and U-Pick
- Cover Crops 101 to 401 and Everything in Between
- Managing Prairie with Bison and Fire
- Farm Equipment 101 and Demonstration
- Northern Pear Cultivars, Rootstocks and Orchard Floor Management
- Crop Diversity and Grazing Livestock for Soil Health
- Getting Started with Pasture-Based Livestock
- Propagating Native Trees and Shrubs for Your Farm
- Summer Cover Crop Mix for Forage, Cover and Soil Health
- Putting the “Culture” in AgriCulture: 30 Years with PFI
- Sustainable Production and Sales in Local Communities
- High Tunnel Build at Prairie Sky Farm
- Hight Tunnel Build Prairie Sky Farm, Part 2
- Starting a Cattle Operation with Contract Grazing
- Integrating Cash Crops, Cover Crops and Livestock
- Trying New Things: Cover Crops, Organic and Livestock
- Vermicomposting and Cover Crops for Vegetables
- On-Farm Energy Audit and Economics of an Organic Dairy
- Bus Trip to Gabe Brown’s Ranch: recap coming soon in our fall newsletter
- Establishing On-Farm Pollinator Habitat recap
- Growing Fall Crops without a High Tunnel recap
- Farm Crawl recap