Published Dec 15, 2016

Member Spotlight: Dick Sloan

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.

dick sloan in front of wheat

Dick Sloan
Member since 2011
Rowley, IA

Dick and Diana Sloan sustain 720 acres of family-owned cropland near Rowley, in the Cedar River watershed in northeastern Iowa. They currently farm using many conservation practices, including no-till farming, tile drainage, grassed waterway buffers, crop terraces, prairie strips and cover crops.

In addition to sharing his knowledge at many field days, workshops and other venues, Dick has participated in many on-farm research projects with Practical Farmers of Iowa.

In the past few years he has investigated the best ways to extend his crop rotation beyond corn and soybeans to include small grains and legume cover crops. One trial, “Corn Following Green Manure Cover Crops Established with Small Grain,” demonstrated the superiority of frost-seeding red clover with a small grain compared to planting a mix of legumes and brassicas in the summer following small grain harvest. “It’s hard to beat the reliability of red clover,” Dick says when considering the clover’s biomass production and the corn yields that followed it.

Learn more about Dick and his farming practices in this profile by Iowa Learning Farms, or this article by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Dick will help teach a pre-conference short course“Conserving $$ and Soil” on Thursday, Jan. 19 (from 1 – 7 p.m.), and Friday, Jan. 20 (from 8:30 – 11 a.m.).

In this short course, you’ll learn numerous ways to steward soil while managing production costs from a suite of experts, including farmers, researchers and others. The course will cover:

  • how to identify field zones where profitability is low
  • the benefits of adding wetlands and buffers
  • how increasing cropping system diversity can help
  • how cover crops can help reduce weed pressure
  • and more!

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