Published Jul 13, 2023

the Practical Farmer: Summer 2023

Summer 2023 magazine cover featuring Stephanie and Austin MeyersTable of Contents

On the cover:

Stephanie and Austin Meyers stand proudly in the greenhouse on their farm near Hubbard, Iowa. Find out on page 18 how they started farming for their family and became passionate about bringing local food to the surrounding communities.

From the Executive DirectorPFI2023 BookPhoto

Many Paths to a Shared Goal

Sally shares reading recommendations, including several sources where you can read stories by PFI members.

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Attendees tour a farm in a wagon pulled by a tractor.Field Days

2023 Field Day Season Is Here

If you’re not already excited for the return of our full schedule of field days, this promo should motivate (and amuse) you.

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In the Shade of Giants

What oak savannas, and those who care for them, have taught Amos Johnson about the work of restoration.

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James, Dave, Zach Van Arkel Harvest 2014 croppedField Crops

Covering Cover Crops

Tapping into cost-share programs has helped the Van Arkle family fund cover crops, and connect with PFI’s community.

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Steve and June WeisPFI Leaders

Giving as an Act of Trust

PFI set big growth goals in its most recent strategic plan. As a member-driven network, we heard your strong message that we needed to reach more people.

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Cait Caughey and familyHabitat

Restoring Habitat on Farms

Before the shift to a two-crop system, Iowa farms were pockets of diversity that hosted many wildlife species. A range of practices, big and small, can create spaces for them to return.

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SonshineFarm web scaledHorticulture

Nurturing Rural Communities

By contributing to her local food system, Stephanie Meyers is growing her family and her rural communities.

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Watermelon deliveryMembership

Local Leaders

Local food distributors and food hubs in PFI’s network are supporting individual producers and consumers.

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LFPA Turkey River Farm squash croppedOrganizational

Partnering to Expand Local Foods

When unprecedented federal funds opened for states to build local food systems, PFI and other partners rallied to bring pivotal programs to Iowa.

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The Land Remains book coverMember Book Review

Neil Hamilton’s “The Land Remains”

Review by PFI member, Larry Stone.

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Maple syrup collection SandhillAcresMember Photos

Check out photos submitted by PFI members from their farms.

View the album

PFI News

New staff join PFI while long-time staffer departs

Megan Bark Headshot 05.15.2023 (1)Megan Bark
Senior Cost-Share Administrative Coordinator
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Kasey Bunce Headshot 05.15.2023 1024x1024Kasey Bunce
Finance Director
Read more about Kasey



Rachel Deutmeyer Headshot 05.22.2023Rachel Deutmeyer
Senior Video Coordinator
Read more about Rachel



Emma Link Headshot 01Emma Link
Senior Research Coordinator
Read more about Emma



Solveig Orngard headshotSolveig Orngard
Field Crops Education Coordinator
Read more about Solveig



Nick Ohde bids PFI farewell as he looks to The Nature Conservancy

Nick OhdeMy career at PFI started out on the water. It was 2014 and I was hunting ducks on a central Iowa wetland with Stefan Gailans, my friend who’d joined the PFI staff in 2013, when he mentioned that long-time PFI staffer Tomoko Ogawa was leaving.

At the time, Tomoko was doing field work, tracking grants, writing articles and cooking delicious food. I had always wanted to work for PFI, and I thought those sounded like holes I could fill. I applied and was lucky enough to start my PFI staff journey in December 2014.

Since then, I’ve gotten to do everything from measuring cover crop growth to cooking food for events, planning field days and conference sessions to leading a team in producing PFI’s first feature-length documentary.

But I’m most proud of the communications team we’ve built over the last six years. I was lucky to support the growth of this team of talented, creative professionals that PFI members should know is one of the best in the business.

I specifically want to thank all the members who helped create the video program at PFI. You gave so much of your time to let me and many other staff shove cameras in your face and lav mics under your shirt collars, and you always made us feel at home on your farms and in your homes.

My next step will take me back to the water. In early July, I’ll be starting a new position with The Nature Conservancy, managing their work in the Mississippi River Basin. I’ll continue to work toward PFI’s vision of clean water in this role, supporting scientists and others working on nutrient reduction, floodplain restoration and more.

I won’t be a stranger to PFI – my wife Emily and I are lifetime members, and we live in Ames. I’m honored to have supported the PFI community by sharing your stories with more people every year.

Thanks for everything – Nick Ohde