Published Jan 29, 2024

the Practical Farmer: Winter 2023/2024


Winter 2023 Magazine COVERTable of Contents

On the cover:

Field day attendees examine a mix of oats and field peas that will soon be foraged by Scott Schultz’s cattle on his farm near Watertown, Wisconsin, in September. See more highlights from the 2023 PFI field day season.

Luke Gran prairie photo courtesy of prudenterraHabitat

A Prairie’s Point of View

Most of what’s written about establishing prairie is from a third-person view – a human perspective. But what if we could hear the prairie speak?

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Cattle on brad sheely farmField Crops

Gains With Grains

The decision to add oats has helped Brad Sheely and his sons expand their farm with livestock, harvesting and other enterprises.

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Mossycup Farm Laura TidrickLivestock

Pig Portraits

PFI farmers share their experience with different pig breeds and crosses.

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Max Chavez with salsa jarsHorticulture and Latino Programming

Farming From the Heart

For Max Chavez, sharing his harvest with others brings joy and helps him overcome barriers as a Latino farmer in Iowa.

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20230910 FieldDay Breckbill Fagan 70 (1)Farmland Owner Legacy Award

Saving Land

When land near their homes came up for sale, a group of northeastern Iowa neighbors mobilized to safeguard it for sustainable agriculture.

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Rachel PerryMembership

Lifelong Learning

When Rachel Perry was introduced to PFI, she quickly connected with its network and farmer-led approach.

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2023 Field day - Twisted River FarmMember Survey

A Bird’s-Eye View

Data from our recent member survey, sent every three years, offers a wealth of insights about our members and their priorities.

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PFI News

Meet the Newest Members of PFI’s Team

20231016 KatieAupperleKatie Aupperle

Conference and Events Coordinator

Read Katie’s Bio



Sophie McGovern Headshot 09.18.2023Sophie McGovern

Marketing Project Coordinator

Read Sophie’s Bio



Headshot JenniferReddelJennifer Reddel

Cost-Share Administrative Assistant

Read Jennifer’s Bio


Seeking Participants for Two PFI On-Farm Trials

Red tractor in a fieldCan We Reduce N Rates to Corn and Improve ROI?

Have you been using soil health practices like cover crops, diversified crop rotation, integrated livestock grazing, reduced tillage or compost, among others? Join farmers from the Upper Midwest in an ongoing research study that pays you to put your soil health to the test!

This project involves comparing your typical nitrogen fertilizer rate to a reduced N rate of your choosing in randomized, replicated strips. For instance, if your typical N rate is 200 lbs N/ac, your reduced rate could be 160 lbs N/ac (a 40-unit reduction).

The reduced rate is entirely up to you; decide on your reduced rate in any manner you see fit. When, how and what form of N you apply is also entirely up to you, whether it’s pre-plant, split application, side-dress, Y-drop, chemical fertilizer, manure, a combination of the two, etc.

Do Cover Crops Increase the Number of Days Suitable for Field Work?

Do you think you’re getting into your fields earlier than your neighbors in the spring and not leaving ruts in the field when harvesting in the fall? Do you suspect these suitable field conditions are due to your use of cover crops? If so, consider joining a multifarm effort that will help unpack what’s going on.

This project relies on farmers like you observing cover-cropped fields through the year. You’ll complete a short survey on a weekly basis that asks, “If you wanted to, could you have completed field activities this past week without compromising field integrity? On which days this past week could you have done so?”

Sign up today

Labor4Learning Jobs Will Go Live in February

SIP beginning farmer demo at Grade A Gardens 7.31 iPhone Rachel BurkeAre you a beginning or aspiring farmer? Do you want to find paid, on-the-job training with experienced farmers in Iowa?

The Labor4Learning program is designed for beginning farmers seeking paid farm work along with additional training in farm management and production skills. Past jobs have covered a range of enterprises and marketing practices in field crops, livestock, dairying, horticulture and orcharding, and have been located all around the state.

Learn more and apply


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