Published Aug 26, 2019

Bringing the Next Generation to the Farm With Small Grains – John and Halee Wepking and Paul Bickford

By Practical Farmers of Iowa

Mills used to be hubs of economic opportunities forming the foundation of rural economies for decades. Production of grains such as wheat, oats and barley required labor both on farm and off it which kept whole families employed in their local communities. Today, by contrast, many farms operate on too thin of margins to bring more employees or a next generation onto the farm and grain is outsourced to big hubs for processing.

John and Halee Wepking of Meadowlark Organics are taking a page from history, leveraging small grains and local, community-based markets to start farming and to give their farming partner and mentor Paul Bickford a next generation to manage his farm and land. In this closing keynote, they share their path to farming through small grains and community connections.

This presentation was part of Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Rotationally Raised: Making Small Grains Work conference on August 15-16, 2019 in Wisconsin Dells, WI. To learn more about PFI’s small grains work head to