Published Nov 22, 2019

Registration is open for Practical Farmers’ 2020 annual conference

By Tamsyn Jones


Tamsyn Jones | Outreach & Publications Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

AMES, Iowa — Registration is now open for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2020 annual conference, “Reclaiming Resilience,” which will take place Jan. 16-18 at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building, on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. All are welcome. Full details are at on our annual conference webpage.

As we embark on 2020, the conference will examine the current state of our farms and our food systems and explore ways to help family farms survive into the future. A –

Attendees will hear practical insights from their farming peers and other experts about everything from innovative ways to use cover crops to sequestering carbon through grazing practices; farm financial management to creating wildlife habitat on farms; lettuce and hemp production to managing farm stress – and much more.

The event attracted more than 800 farmers, researchers and supporters last year. Conference highlights include:

  • A keynote address by New Zealand agroecologist Nicole Masters, a systems thinker, author and educator who is director of the New Zealand-based Integrity Soils. Nicole has a formal background in ecology, soil science and organizational learning, and is author of “For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate Our Food Production Systems.” She and her team of soil coaches work with producers in the U.S., Canada and across Australasia.

In her keynote – “Bottom-Line Benefits of Building Resilience” – Nicole will present an illuminating look at the interrelationships among soil microbes, structure, plant health and resilience, and explain how fostering healthy soils translates directly to improvements in farmers’ bottom lines.

  • Sixty-two sessions on topics that span the agricultural spectrum. Some sessions are planned specifically for landowners, non-farmers and beginning farmers.
  • Four pre-conference short courses: “Organic Weed Control,” “Planning for Farmland Succession,” “Commercial Apple Orcharding” and “Growing Pasture-Raised Meat Supply Chains.” All courses run Thursday, Jan. 16 from 1-6:30 p.m. and continue Friday, Jan. 17 from 8-11:30 a.m., at the Scheman Building.
  • A new hands-on youth session designed for children 4 and older focused on creating bee houses.
  • Certified crop advisor credits for 34 sessions and three of the short courses.
  • Many opportunities to network and build relationships with other farmers, researchers, consumers and sponsors – including during the free breakfast served on Saturday morning.
  • Presentation of PFI’s 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award

Registration: Walk-in registration is allowed, but those who pre-register by Jan. 9 will save $10 per day. Special rates are also available for students and PFI members. Register online, or contact Debra Boekholder at or (515) 232-5661.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2020 annual conference is supported by several major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Clif Bar & Co.; Grain Millers; Hall Roberts’ Son, Inc.; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy and Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; and Niman Ranch.


Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit

View full conference details