the Practical Farmer: Winter 2021/2022
From the Executive Director
As one farmer’s tenure ends, he helps another farmer begin.
Grace German was born into the PFI network and its culture of curiosity.
Curiosity, continuous improvement and a focus on community define decision-making at Coon River Farms.
Beginning Farmers & Land Access
After working as a Labor4Learning trainee at Echollective Farm & CSA, DaQuay Campbell gained experience, support and land access to start Black Oak Acres.
Two eastern Iowa farms wondered if reduced tillage could solve several production challenges.
Lifetime member Neal Sawyer uses grazing to regenerate his soil and serve his community.
Member Book Review
Share the Harvest: Give a Gift of Grain
Gifting grain directly to Practical Farmers (rather than selling the grain and making a gift from the proceeds) supports our work to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities, and also provides you with more significant tax savings.
Contributing grain lets you avoid selling the commodity as income, while the production costs may still be deductible. Reducing taxable income may provide advantages, such as minimizing or eliminating your self-employment tax and reducing your adjusted gross income.
Plus, gifting grain is easy. Ann Cromwell, who dated a gift of grain to PFI last year, says, “I donated grain in 2020 to about 10 charities including my church.”
The process is simple: Notify your grain dealer of PFI’s address and the amount of grain you are gifting. With the reduced amount of charitable giving now deductible in federal and state tax laws, this is an easy way to donate and still reduce taxes.
Sale of “Hotz for Otz” T-Shirts Will Benefit PFI
Fans of PFI and ISU sports can show their support for both with a new shirt by Raygun, a Des Moines-based design, printing and clothing store, and Wide Right Natty Lite, a blog focused on Iowa State University athletics.
The two teamed up to create a T-shirt supporting new ISU men’s basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger. Wide Right Natty Lite will offer a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this shirt to PFI.
PFI Thanks Lisa Schulte Moore and Welcomes Matt Liebman to the Board of Directors
Lisa Schulte Moore, a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and associate director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University, stepped down from her second term as a non-farmer PFI board director. This is for an exciting reason: Lisa was named a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. This prestigious award identifies scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and others who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and who show promise for important future advances. Lisa is the first ISU faculty member to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.
Congratulations, Lisa, and thanks so much for your excellent service!
When someone steps down from the board mid-term, per PFI’s bylaws, the board of directors appoints someone to replace them for the rest of the term. The board invited Matt Liebman to serve as Lisa’s predecessor, and he has accepted!
Matt, like Lisa, is a lifetime member of PFI and, through the end of this year, has served as faculty at Iowa State as a professor in the department of agronomy and as the Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture. His research and outreach has focused on ways to improved environmental quality and agricultural productivity while reducing dependence on agrichemicals and fossil fuels. Matt retires from ISU December 31, 2021. We are excited to have Matt on the PFI board!
Additionally, Jon Bakehouse, who is in his first year as a PFI director, has stepped in to be treasurer, a role that Lisa filled during her service.
PFI Welcomes New Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members, Lia and Ryan, for 2021-2022
Lia Carrillo joined Practical Farmers of Iowa in October as a Green Iowa AmeriCorps member. During her service term, which runs from 2021-2022, she is mainly collaborating with PFI’s habitat and policy coordinator, Jorgen Rose.
Lia is currently pursuing an associate degree in biology at Des Moines Area Community College, after which she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology at Iowa State University in hopes of becoming a conservation biologist. Lia is from Bucks County in southeastern Pennsylvania. From 2015-2020, she lived in Houston, Texas, where she spent most of her time coaching Xcel Silver gymnastics at Biron Youth Sports Center. Lia and her boyfriend, Andrew, moved to Iowa in October 2020 so Andrew could start his new job as a regional engineer for Ducks Unlimited.
Lia and Andrew have a passion for waterfowl hunting and fishing as well as enjoying time outdoors with their three dogs. They have a pure-bred black Labrador retriever named Grace (their hunting dog), a black Lab-greyhound mix named Gem and a collie mix named Sienna.
Ryan joined Practical Farmers of Iowa in September as a Green Iowa AmeriCorp member. He is primarily working with the communications team editing videos, laying out magazine design, and assisting with other marketing and promotional materials.
Ryan was raised in Iowa City, Iowa, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in interactive digital studies and currently lives in Ames, Iowa, with his dog Oliver. Having lived at all three state schools, Ryan finds it difficult to know who to support, but he loves to yell all the same.
Some other passions of his include video and board games, cooking shows, spending time with friends, reading and singing.
We’re Hiring an Information Systems Manager
We are currently accepting applications for a full-time information systems manager, based in our Ames, Iowa, office, to support our operations department. This person will work with organizational leadership to plan, manage and support information systems and processes. Applications are due by Friday, Jan. 21.
PFI uses constituent relationship management software, an accounting system, survey platforms, database tools and various other applications to support daily operations and key organizational processes. The information systems manager will be responsible for the effective functioning of these systems, and will support PFI by:
- Understanding the business processes and data needs of all departments and building the information and application ecosystem at PFI in a way that best meets the organization’s operational and reporting requirements
- Developing standard operating procedures and protocols in collaboration with leadership and departments
- Holding trainings for staff on how to use available information systems to support their work
- Creating and implementing customer service processes that help staff effectively use PFI information systems
- Managing vendors PFI works with to support, administer and maintain technology and information systems
Listen to Habitat Podcast Episodes
This autumn, we released six new episodes of our podcast, “On Farm,” that explore a range of conservation practices and habitat restoration efforts farmers are engaged in, as well as things landowners can do to create wildlife habitat and why PFI is working on habitat issues. Find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.