Published Dec 29, 2016

Member Spotlight: Darren Fehr

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.

Darren Fehr

Darren Fehr
Member since 2013
Mallard, IA

Darren Fehr farms with his wife, Nora, and their five children. Together, they farm 1,000 acres of certified organic corn, soybeans, oats, peas and alfalfa, as well as edible beans like kidney and black bean.

Darren started farming in 1994. In 1998, he started farming a piece of ground that was coming out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Someone recommended that he try planting organic soybeans, which at the time were $25 per bushel (whereas conventional corn was at about $3 per bushel).

“At that stage in my farming career, we were starting with really nothing – we didn’t have much of a land base – so it did open up the opportunity to create more value per acre of land, instead of trying to find more land. And then, after that, [farming organically] became more of a personal challenge.”

Darren says that when he started reading more about organic, he saw there was a different way of looking at production agriculture.

Learn more about Darren, his farming practices and why he chooses to grow small grains in this Q&A on our blog, conducted by PFI staff member Nick Ohde.

Darren will help teach “Growing High-Yield Organic Corn” (on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 2:30 – 3:40 p.m.). During the session, he and fellow presenter Scott Shriver will:

  • share details about their crop rotations
  • explain the equipment they use to grow organic corn
  • share their strategies for providing required nutrients and adequate weed control (the two primary concerns when growing organic corn)

Get full details and speaker information in our 2017 conference brochure.

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