Published Nov 25, 2016

Member Spotlight: Connie Tjelmeland — TJ Family Farm

By Tamsyn Jones

Passing on knowledge from farmer to farmer works because farmers are credible to each other. Supporting this farmer-led model is what we strive to do at Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Our 2017 annual conference, “Pass It On” (Jan. 201-21 – learn more here), celebrates this model and the impact of farmer-to-farmer learning on farmers’ confidence to explore new or different farming practices, and their ability improve farm profitability and land stewardship.

As we prepare for the conference, we’d like to introduce you to some of the PFI farmers you can learn from during conference sessions.

Connie Tjelmeland Member since 1986 TJ Family Farm McCallsburg, Iowa Lifetime member

Connie Tjelmeland
Member since 1986
TJ Family Farm
McCallsburg, Iowa
Lifetime member

Connie farms with her husband, Mark, northwest of McCallsburg, in central Iowa. Their operation includes conventional and organic corn and soybeans; oats; hay; and native prairie plants and seed. Connie and Mark have long been active within Practical Farmers of Iowa, hosting field days and sharing their experience with other farmers. Connie and Mark are both lifetime members of Practical Farmers. Mark is also a past Practical Farmers of Iowa board member, and serves as a Soil and Water Conservation District commissioner with Story County SWCD.

Until a few years ago, Connie and Mark also operated a major free-range egg enterprise, via a flock of about 750 free-range chickens. Due to the increased care that Connie’s mother required – and which Connie was providing in their home at the time – she and Mark retired that aspect of their farm business.

Connie will help teach a conference session that addresses end-of-life-care issues as they relate to the family farm.

In “Keeping the Farm and Paying for End-of-Life Care” (on Friday, Jan. 20, from 12:30 – 2 p.m), Connie will talk about what was involved with caring for her mother during her mother’s final years, and the agreement the family made to pay her for that care. Read more about Connie’s story in this April 2016 blog post by Teresa Opheim, PFI’s farm transfer director.

 Learn More About Connie and Mark:

  • Read a blog summary of a past PFI field day the Tjelmelands hosted in 2009. (Note: Mark and Connie also hosted a field day in 2012, but we don’t have a blog summary).
  • Learn more about the history of the Tjelmelands’ farm in this blog post (from our old blog site).

 Register for the conference: Practical Farmers’ annual conference is open to everyone! Click here to learn more about the sessions, speakers and registration options.