Published Dec 30, 2022

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Free Webinar Series Starts Jan. 10

By Tamsyn Jones
Topics span cover crops, pollinator habitat, pastured poultry, soil health, Tribal food sovereignty and more


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

AMES, Iowa (Dec. 30, 2022) — Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2023 winter webinar series, referred to as “farminars,” will start on Tuesday, Jan. 10, with a presentation on state-funded cost-share programs.

In the farminar, Doug Roupp, a Marshalltown-based district conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Steve Riggins, who farms 200 acres near Cambridge, will discuss lesser-known Iowa programs such as Resource Enhancement and Protection, Iowa Financial Incentive Program and the Water Quality Initiative.

The event is one of 11 farminars offered through March 28 on issues relevant to beginning and experienced row crop, livestock and horticulture farmers, as well as landowners.

All farminars run weekly on Tuesdays from noon to 1:30 p.m. Central time. The events are free to attend and anyone with an internet connection is invited to participate. Each presentation focuses on a unique production or business management topic, and is led by a farmer or subject-matter expert. Attendees are able to ask questions in real time using a chat box during the presentations.

To participate: Go to, click the “Register to Join” button, follow the prompts and click the URL to join. A schedule of all upcoming farminars – plus recordings of archived farminars – is also available at that link.

Other topics in the 2023 series will explore ways to create healthy pollinator habitat; cover crop mixes; tarping in horticultural systems for soil health and weed control; pastured poultry; how the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is working to foster Tribal food sovereignty; diversified rotations in organic cropping systems; what Iowa’s new cottage-food law means for home-based food businesses; integrated crop-livestock grazing; and corn and soybean basics for landowners.

For full event and speaker details, visit

Farminars in the 2023 series include:

  • Jan. 10: “Hidden Gems … Lesser-Known State-Funded Conservation Cost-Share Programs” – Doug Ruopp & Stephen Riggins
  • Jan. 17: “Creating Healthy Spaces for Pollinators to Thrive: Protecting Pollinator Habitat From Pesticides” – Emily May & Karin Jokela
  • Jan. 31: “Creating Space for Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Habitat on Small Urban Farms” – Stefanie Steele & Akello Karamoko
  • Feb. 7: “Thinking Through Cover Crops: How to Set Goals, Design Optimal Seed Mixes and Minimize Costs” – Thomas Björkman
  • Feb. 14: “Magic Tarping Ride: Perspectives on a System for Soil Quality, Weed Control and More on Vegetable Farms” – Hannah Breckbill & Ryan Maher
  • Feb. 21: “Pricing Pastured Poultry” – Ben Grimes, Anna Hankins & Shae Pesek
  • Feb. 28: “Bison, Beef and Tribal Food Sovereignty” – Jayme Murray
  • March 7: “Diversified Crop Rotations in an Organic System” – Jacob Landis
  • March 14: “Navigating Iowa’s New Cottage Food Law: A Farmer-Focused Q&A” – Julie Kraling & Kurt Rueber
  • March 21: “Integrated Crop-Livestock Grazing” – Heath Hoppes
  • March 29: “Corn and Soybean Basics for Landowners” – Meredith Nunnikhoven, Mollie Aronowitz & Morgan Jennings

Note: A complete list of presenters, organized alphabetically by community, is included below.

Practical Farmers’ 2023 winter farminars are made possible with funding from the Cedar Tree Foundation; Ceres Trust; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under an Assistance Agreement; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service CIG agreements NR223A750013G028 and NR216114XXXXG003; Walton Family Foundation.


About Practical Farmers: 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

Farminar Presenters by Community

Ames, Iowa – Presenting March 28

  • Morgan Jennings is a field crops viability coordinator at Practical Farmers of Iowa who supports farmers through PFI’s cover crop cost-share program and helps them think through diversified crop rotations.

 Cambridge, Iowa – Presenting Jan. 10

  • Steve Riggins and his wife, Crystal, farm 200 acres of conventional row crops. They are in the process of converting the farm into pasture lands and organic production.

Clive, Iowa – Presenting March 28

  • Mollie Aronowitz is a licensed realtor, accredited land manager and sustainability director with People Company.

 Coggon, Iowa – Presenting Feb. 21

  • Anna Hankins co-owns Over the Moon Farm & Flowers LLC with Shae Pesek. Together, they raise ducks, turkeys, pigs and cows and along with seasonal cut flowers, which they sell directly to consumers.

Coggon, Iowa – Presenting Feb. 21

  • Shae Pesek co-owns Over the Moon Farm & Flowers LLC with Anna Hankins. Together, they raise ducks, turkeys, pigs and cows and along with seasonal cut flowers, which they sell directly to consumers.

 Council Bluffs, Iowa – Presenting March 21

  • Heath Hoppes is a Navy veteran and pilot who regeneratively raises beef, poultry and pork, as well as organic small grains, soybeans and hay at Hidden Hollow Farm.

 Decorah, Iowa – Presenting Feb. 14

  • Hannah Breckbill has been farming since 2009. With her farm partner, Emily Fagan, she is developing a perennial polyculture system at Humble Hands Harvest.

 Des Moines, Iowa – Presenting March 14

  • Julie Kraling is the retail food program lead at Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals.

 Des Moines, Iowa – Presenting March 14

  • Kurt Rueber is an environmental specialist with the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau, which is a part of the Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals.

 Detroit, Michigan – Presenting Jan. 31

  • Akello Karamoko is the farmer manager at Keep Growing Detroit, an urban farm and non-profit in Detroit, Michigan. He also heads the organization’s native-plant nursery.

 Detroit, Michigan – Presenting Jan. 31

  • Stefanie Steele is a pollinator conservation specialist for small and urban farms with Xerces Society. She works primarily with underserved communities in the Detroit, Michigan, area.

 Farmington, Minnesota – Presenting Jan. 17

  • Karin Jokela is a farm bill pollinator conservation planner for Xerces Society serving primarily southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

 Geneva, New York – Presenting Feb. 7

  • Thomas Björkman is a professor in Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science, based at Cornell AgriTech. His work primarily revolves around cover crops in vegetable systems, vegetable physiology and production.

 Hurdle Mills, North Carolina – Presenting Feb. 21

  • Ben Grimes raises pastured poultry at Dawnbreaker Farms, marketing through retail and wholesale channels. In 2020, he started Carolina Pastures, a collective of local pasture-based meat farmers.

 Ithaca, New York – Presenting Feb. 14

  • Ryan Maher works with Cornell University’s Small Farms Program to support vegetable farmers in building soil health on their farms.

 Marshalltown, Iowa – Presenting Jan. 10

  • Doug Roupp serves as a district conservationist with the USDA. He and his wife, LeighAnn are raising a herd of cows on their Marshalltown, Iowa, farm.

 Middlebury, Vermont – Presenting Jan. 17

  • Emily May is a pollinator conservation specialist with Xerces Society who focuses on supporting crop pollinators by creating habitat and protecting bees and other beneficial insects from pesticides.

 Mobridge, South Dakota – Presenting Feb. 28

  • Jayme Murray is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a sixth-generation cow-calf rancher. As the CEO of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Buffalo Authority Corporation, he oversees a 1,200-head bison herd, a 200-head beef cattle herd and the Tribal corporation’s state-inspected processing facility.

 Oskaloosa, Iowa – Presenting March 28

  • Meredith Nunnikhoven established Barnswallow Flowers in 2018 after returning home to re-engage with her family farm.

 Sterling, Illinois – Presenting March 7

  • Jacob Landis and his family grow corn, soy, wheat, sunflowers, field peas, alfalfa and occasionally oats on their 1,000-acre organic farm. They also milk 60 dairy cows and raise the dairy steers for beef.