From field days, farminars and workshops to our annual conference, Practical Farmers hosts many events throughout the year to help farmers connect with and learn from each other.
Planning events and learning opportunities in response to members’ needs and desires is a core way in which Practical Farmers fosters farmer-to-farmer learning and information sharing. Some events – such as our field day series, annual conference and Cooperators’ Meeting – are foundational events that have defined Practical Farmers since the beginning. As our membership has grown and expanded, we have organized new events based on member feedback. We invite you to read about the variety of events we host throughout the year, and join us at an event near you.
Field days have been a core part of Practical Farmers since the beginning, when farmers would come together to share details of on-farm research and demonstration and learn from each other in a spirit of openness and curiosity. This remains true today. While spring and summer are our peak field day seasons, our members host events throughout the year, inviting fellow farmers and the public onto their farms to learn about topics that span the agricultural spectrum, and even the intersection of farming and local foods.
Small Grains Conference
This day-long conference covered a variety of topics about growing small grains and the benefits of an extended rotation. Nine breakout sessions throughout the day included sessions on integrating animals with a small grains operation, marketing small grains, the agronomy behind successfully raising small grains and more. Access speaker presentations and videos from the conference below!
Next Generation Summit
Are you a farmland owner thinking about the next steps for your land and the legacy you would like to leave? On the other side, are you an aspiring farmer looking for land to begin your farming dream? Then we invite you to join Practical Farmers of Iowa for our Next Generation Summit, an event that brings together aspiring farmers and farmland owners in a way that allows for education and networking help to overcome the challenge of farmland access.
Farminars are Practical Farmers’ version of a webinar. These 90-minute online seminars are free and produced to help farmers learn about business and production issues that matter to them from the convenience of their homes. Farminars are held weekly each Tuesday during the fall and winter months, and run from 7–8:30 p.m. CST.
Practical Farmers’ Annual Conference has been the backbone of our organization since our founding, when farmers looking to improve diversity on their farms gathered to share their knowledge openly with others. From the days when these informal get-togethers took place at someone’s farm and were known as the Annual Meeting, to the surging interest in pragmatic, sustainable farming solutions that in 2003 necessitated a shift in rhetorical scope from annual “meeting” to “conference,” to the ongoing upwelling of farmers seeking practical yet profitable and ecologically sensitive ways to farm, the annual conference has been a hallmark of what Practical Farmers stands for: farmer-to-farmer learning, networking and grassroots solutions to on-farm challenges for a more diverse, sustainable agricultural landscape.
The Cooperators’ Meeting is a two-day event where our farmer members gather to discuss past research and plan on-farm research for the following year. The Cooperators’ Meeting is an annual event rooted in the Practical Farmers ethos of farmers generating independent solutions to on-farm challenges through farmer-led research projects — and then sharing that knowledge freely with other farmers.
Beginning Farmer Retreat
This annual event brings beginning farmers together to network, plan and discuss ways to improve their farms while helping to build a sense of community among this fast-growing farming demographic. The first Practical Farmers Next Generation Retreat took place in 2009, and it has been an annual event ever since. The two-day retreat has become a popular networking and business planning event that helps beginners share and learn from each other, as well as select experienced farmer speakers. Farm knowledge, food and friendship are freely shared.
Meet-Ups and Socials
Occasionally we host opportunities for farmers to get together to network, share a meal and visit with one another. Build your farming network and learn from others who have similar or different farm ventures than you. Whether it be a beginning farmer social, fruit and vegetable farmer meet-up or a grazing group, there’s sure to be an opportunity to get together with like-minded farmers near you.
Workshops take a deeper dive into a specific topic. Over the years, we’ve had workshops on holistic management, chestnut production, farm transfer and more.