Published Dec 8, 2020

Registration is open for Practical Farmers’ 2021 virtual annual conference; special offer for those who register by Dec. 20

By Tamsyn Jones


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

AMES, Iowa — Registration is now open for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2021 virtual annual conference, “Coming Home,” which will take place Jan. 21-23. The event will feature over 50 practical, farmer-led sessions – as well as a raft of new offerings, from bilingual and youth sessions, to the premiere of PFI’s first feature-length film, to interactive formats planned specifically for the virtual environment.

The cost is $25 to attend the whole conference – but to ensure the event is accessible to all, free tickets are available for those experiencing financial hardship, no questions asked.

Those who register by Sunday, Dec. 20 – and also either join PFI or renew their membership, or include a donation of $50 or more – will receive a special conference package in the mail that includes a custom conference T-shirt and notebook, along with other gifts. Learn more or register at 2021-annual-conference.

The conference will take place on a special platform designed for ease of use that lets attendees create a personalized conference agenda with session reminders; network with other attendees and exhibitors; browse a virtual tradeshow; re-watch sessions; easily participate via computer or mobile devices; and more.

Schedule: Live sessions will take place each day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., after which attendees can choose from a range of self-directed activities, including visiting the virtual tradeshow; watching recordings of earlier sessions; browsing a gallery of curated PFI content; or gathering with other attendees in virtual meeting rooms. From 6-8:30 p.m. each night, live conference events will resume, with a capstone feature planned each night.

Other conference highlights include:

  • The premiere of PFI’s first feature-length film, “Livestock on the Land,” which explores how livestock tie our families and communities together; help us remember our roots; and lead new generations back home. Following the film, a panel will discuss the critical role of livestock in rural communities.
  • A keynote by Sarah Smarsh, a journalist, speaker and author of “Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth.” Her keynote – “Homecoming” – will examine how rural, suburban and urban life are intertwined, and how the rural homecoming is good news for everyone.
  • Spanish-language sessions, offered either bilingually or with Spanish interpretation available.
  • 50 sessions on topics that span the agricultural spectrum, from managing nitrogen with cover crops to apple orchard management; farm lease options to protecting pollinators; choosing oat varieties to building a pasture-raised meat company; agroforesty to the agricultural history of the Sac and Fox Tribe – and more.
  • New conference formats, including live farmer-to-farmer conversations, with time for Q&A with the audience, and lightning talk rounds, featuring six focused talks by farmers, each 8 minutes long.
  • Two youth sessions on Saturday morning, designed for children of different age groups.
  • A night of storytelling by PFI farmers sharing true stories, skillfully narrated and performed live.
  • Certified crop advisor credits for 37 sessions.
  • Presentation of PFI’s 2021 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award
  • A virtual tradeshow and many opportunities to network with other farmers, researchers, consumers and sponsors.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2021 annual conference is supported by several major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Farmers Union Conservation Planning Initiative; Niman Ranch; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.


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