Published Nov 6, 2015

It’s a Wrap: Impacts, Reflections and Recaps from 2015 PFI Field Days

By Sally Worley
RS44734_AckleyFieldDay_09082015 (115)-scr

Ackley field day

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):

considering changing

considering changing (1)

Participants are considering changing as a result of attending a 2015 field day (partial list)

As a result of a previous field day, 78% of repeat attendees have made changes in:

have changed

Have changed

Participants have changed as a result of attending a previous field day (partial list)

RS44939_Wendy Johnson FD 09122015 (97)-scr

Host Wendy Johnson talks pastured poultry

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.

RS44592_Raasch FD 2015 (122)-scr

Field day hosts Tyler and Dale Raasch

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!

Beard field day

Beard field day

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.

RS45367_Krouse (81)-scr

Laura Krouse field day

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.

Attendees at the DeCook Field Day.

DeCook Field Day

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 

Thank you to the field day hosts for your generous knowledge-sharing! 

Field day recaps:

Coming soon:

  • 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