Published Oct 26, 2023

the Practical Farmer: Autumn 2023

Autumn 2023 Magazine COVERTable of Contents

On the cover:

Blandine Matondo tends to her garden at the Global Food Project in Iowa City, Iowa. She and four other Congolese families have their own vegetable plots to grow food for their families and the community. Read more about her and the Global Food Project on page 13.

Field Crops

Mike Cook and Bob ReckerCultivating Diversity in the Heart of Waterloo

Since the 1980s, Mike Cook and his family have worked to build a profitable business growing row crops, fruits and vegetables on a patchwork of smaller plots.

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20230806 FieldDay Lafrenz 47 1Horticulture

The Richness of Varieties

In a modern market environment where crunch is key, what is the value of heirloom apple varieties?

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Calf at Hansen's Dairy 1Livestock

A Milky Way

Facing a tough dairy market, three small-scale Iowa dairies have adapted their businesses to keep doing what they love.

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Emmanuel's vegtable plots 2Beginning Farmers

Thinking Globally, Growing Locally

Global Food Project’s incubator farm helps immigrants to Iowa City build community while preserving cultural ties and traditions.

Read more

20230708 FieldDay Padget 051Field day photos

2023 Field Day Season

See images of learning, connection, food and fun from the first half of our 2023 field day season.

View the album

Steve and Sara Hopkins 1Membership

The Cycle Continues

Longtime PFI members Steve and Sara Hopkins are innovators in regenerative farming, water conservation and youth education.

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Andrew MillerField Crops

Ventures in Organic

The Miller and Olson families are at different stages of their organic farming experience, but their stories highlight some common challenges and sources of support.

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Ken Fawcett in buffer zone


Creating a House for Nature

Ken Fawcett and his family have embraced precision conservation to improve their farm while making space for the rest of nature to thrive.

Read more

PFI News

Meet the Newest Members of PFI’s Team

Heather Brown Headshot 08.01.2023Heather Brown

Grants Finance Manager

Read Heather’s Bio



Natasha Hegmann Headshot 06.20.2023 1024x1024Natasha Hegmann

Senior Horticulture and Local Foods Coordinator

Read Natasha’s Bio



Josh McCunn Headshot 06.15.23Joshua McCunn

Graphic Design and Photography Intern

Read Joshua’s Bio



Kyleigh Meyeres Headshot 06.08.23Kyleigh Meyeres

Office Assistant

Read Kyleigh’s Bio



Get Cover Cropping Insights with our New Video Series

Roller Crimping Rye Cover Crop in Soybeans.00 06 12 05.Still004PFI has been a key resource for farmers on cover crops since its founding, with field days, conference sessions, research reports, magazine articles and more. This year, we’re adding a dedicated video series – “Practical Cover Croppers” – to the mix.

The series launched earlier this summer with a video on setting up a corn planter for planting into a green cover crop. At three to 10 minutes long, each video aims to offer a digestible snapshot of PFI members’ cover cropping practices and insights across a range of farm enterprises, from row crops and livestock to horticulture.
You’ll learn about topics like using cover crops to suppress weeds, prevent erosion, boost soil health and provide forage for livestock. Videos also explore the societal benefits of cover crops and offer detailed how-tos on specific topics like roller crimping, air seeding, grazing cover crops and more.

New episodes are published weekly on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our channel to be notified when we publish a new video. For questions, contact Rachel Deutmeyer at