Sessions

Welcome to the sessions page! Scroll down this page to see which sessions are in each block during the annual conference.

Session Types

Lightning Talks

Lightning is powerful, focused, illuminating – and over quickly. As the name suggests, lighting talks are short, focused and hopefully exciting to watch! We know many farmers are evaluating new practices or have figured out a process that would be useful to share with others – but may not need 60 minutes to do so. Each lightning talk round will feature six talks, each 8 minutes long.

Interested in giving a lightning talk during the conference? Contact Liz Kolbe at liz.kolbe@practicalfarmers.org. (Priority for lightning talk presentations will be given to farmers.)

General Breakout Sessions

General sessions are a more formal presentation by one or more speakers, with time at the end reserved for questions from the audience.

Roundtables

Roundtables are facilitated conversations on a specified topic, where attendees actively participate in the conversation during the session. Look for them throughout the conference!

Farmer-to-Farmer Sessions

During farmer-to-farmer conversations, two farmers will spend 40 minutes conversing together on selected topics or shared experiences, and then take questions from the audience. This format is similar to a live podcast, and it generates some really fun interactions!


Friday:

Saturday:

Prefer to view all of the sessions at a glance? Click here to view a PDF of all of the sessions.


Keynote Address

Friday | 5:30 p.m. | Benton Auditorium, Room 195 

Seedtime and Harvest: Using Common Ground to Preserve our Future

Donna Pearson McClish

Donna Pearson McClish (2)As we look back over the impact of our food and farm systems, from technological advances in the early 20th century to more recent impacts of COVID-19 and food system disruptions since 2020, there is a lot to reflect on. As we each share our stories, we can realize most of life’s resources come from a seed. Every seed has the potential to multiply into a great harvest. As we relate to farmers and farming, what does our harvest look like at this present time? What are we doing to bring in bumper crops for the next generations?

In this keynote, Donna Pearson McClish will tell her story, one of family and urban farming. She will share how she is sowing seeds of a new food system, one that is helping urban and rural farms grow fresh food to feed their communities. Donna will articulate her tale of founding Common Ground Producers and Growers, along with its seven years of service providing fresh produce to the food desert and food insecurity areas of Wichita, Kansas, and surrounding communities.


Storytelling

Saturday | 3:45 p.m.

Storytelling is back! To close out the conference on Saturday afternoon, all conference attendees will come together to hear true stories, performed live, from a selection of PFI farmers. If you enjoy bending your ear toward a lively, soberingly powerful or particularly well-narrated farmer tale, this storytelling event is for you.

Storytellers:


Friday Session 1

12:30-1:30 p.m.

Staying Profitable and Keeping Customers as Prices Rise

Andy Larson | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Inflation is at historic levels, and food and farm businesses are feeling the pain as record prices for feed, inputs and labor eat into profit margins. Let’s talk about what’s causing inflation, whether your various enterprises are still making money in the face of increased expenses and some basic strategies to increase your own prices and profits without losing customers.

Building Soil Biology With On-Farm Compost

Kyle Schnell & Ryan Gibbs | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

On-farm composting approaches like the Johnson-Su method are gaining traction in row crop systems as a way to affordably build a reservoir of high-quality soil biology. Compost extract can be applied in large quantities, in furrows, with equipment most farms already have. Hear from Kyle Schnell and Ryan Gibbs about how they built aerobic on-farm compost systems, how they apply the compost on their row crop ground and what benefits they are seeing.

Managing Herbicide Residuals Before Cover Crops

Meaghan Anderson | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Herbicides in conventional systems with cover crops must be carefully managed to avoid costly carryover. Hear from Meaghan Anderson about managing herbicides and watching out for residuals that could limit cover crop germination. Get the most out of your cover crop with good herbicide management practices!

Farm the Best, Leave the Rest: Precision Conservation With Pheasants Forever

Josh Divan | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Precision conservation is used to apply conservation practices in the right place at the right time, in the right conditions. In low-yielding areas, conservation can improve the environment and your farm’s profitability, and can result in increased return on investment. This session will explore the tools and strategies you need to start identifying on-farm precision conservation opportunities. You’ll learn how to get started, and how to apply precision conservation to improve soil health, increase water quality and improve wildlife habitat.

Horticulture Show and Tool: Farmers’ Favorite Implements, Tools and Supplies

CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

The perfect rubber bands, a versatile hoe, trellising hooks, sturdy pruners, an over-the-shoulder harvest bucket, bird netting and so much more – the right tool makes all the difference. Bring your favorite hand tool or supply to show and share why you love it, how you use it and a source for purchasing it. No gas-powered equipment, chemicals or anything you cannot carry and move yourself. Limit two items per person. Check in your item in the session room upon arriving at the conference.

Thinking About (and Rethinking) Pack Shed Design

Liz Graznak | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

In many ways, pack sheds are the heart of the action on a diverse vegetable farm; it’s where produce transitions into a customer-ready product. Form must follow function in these spaces, so when Liz Graznak designed her first pack shed at Happy Hollow Farm in 2010, she thought deeply about the flow of operations and designed the space with great care. In 2017, she redesigned it completely. Learn why, how and what to consider in designing your pack shed.

Getting Started With Pasture-Finished Pigs

Dayna Burtness | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Thinking of getting into pastured pigs? Dayna Burtness of Nettle Valley Farm will introduce the basics of finishing pigs on pasture, including fencing, infrastructure for food, water and shelter, finding feeder pigs and more. This talk will be geared toward those who currently don’t have pigs or those who may raise small numbers but are looking to scale up a bit.

Pastured Turkeys – Keeping It Simple

Jordan Green | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Thanksgiving presents a once-a-year chance for massive turkey sales. In this presentation, Jordan Green will share the steps he uses on his farm to keep the process of raising holiday turkeys simple and sane, from brooding and harvesting to selling these tasty birds.

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Friday Session 2

2-3 p.m.

Opportunity Assessment for Farm Businesses

Julia Shanks | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Opportunity assessment is an important part of any business, including farms. Julia Shanks will talk about evaluating opportunities from a “back of the envelope” method and from a break-even perspective. She will also introduce the concepts of gross margin, variable costs and cost of production.

Food-Grade Small Grains From Farm to Mill

Harold Wilken | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Janie’s Farm and Janie’s Mill in Danforth, Illinois, are successfully operating under a unique business model: growing, processing and direct-marketing their own food-grade grains. In this session, Harold Wilken will share how he and his team are growing food-grade grains for milling, operating their own mill and making space for their business in Midwest markets.

Farmer-to-Farmer: Wade Dooley and Landon Plagge

Wade Dooley & Landon Plagge | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Wade Dooley and Landon Plagge will share their experiences starting cover crop seed businesses in this farmer-to-farmer session. Wade operates Dooley Ag Stewardship Inc. and Landon operates Green Acre Seed Co. Both were part of PFI’s cover crop business accelerator program in 2020 and 2021.

Using Goats to Manage Native Habitat

Adam Ledvina | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Livestock grazing can be an effective way to manage native habitat without the use of herbicides and expensive machinery. Livestock can also nicely complement a standard chemical treatment work plan. Adam Ledvina owns and operates Blue Collar Goatscaping, transporting goats all across Iowa to graze on invasive and overgrown vegetation on both public and private lands. Pop into this session to learn how contract grazing can benefit your business and boost profitability.

Medium-Scale Reduced-Tillage Vegetable Production at Dancing the Land Farm

Liz Dwyer | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Liz Dwyer’s commitment to the land where she grew up is deep. In 2012, she and her husband began operating Dancing the Land Farm on family land in 2012, transitioning it from conventional row crops to a small, diverse and profitable farm. Since then, limited tillage has been key to their framework of practice. With nearly 4 acres in horticultural production, Liz is excited to share their story and hear your questions about making no-till work on a mid-scale farm.

Picking U-Pick: Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Success With U-Pick Production

Dean & Judy Henry and Tom Wahl & Kathy Dice | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Among farm types, U-pick operations are special and unique – as are their challenges. Inviting the public into production spaces takes intentional management, special equipment, good communication and, sometimes, adjusted expectations. The Berry Patch Farm in Nevada, Iowa, and Red Fern Farm in Wapello, Iowa, are popular and established U-pick farms. Learn from these veteran growers, and bring your questions and ideas about U-pick!

Building Economic Equity Into Your Business and Marketing

Molly Schintler & Alice McGary | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

When nourishing a community means growing food and making it accessible, how can farms make the profit needed to grow? Farmers Molly Schintler of Echollective Farm and Alice McGary of Mustard Seed Community Farm have explored ways to build community action and food access into their business models by centering economic equity with tactics like sliding-scale CSA shares, payment plans, work shares and implementing electronic benefit transfer.

Farrow-to-Finish: Keys to a Profitable Pastured Pig Enterprise

Jordan Green | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Rediscover the mortgage-lifter! In this presentation, Jordan Green will overview the principles and techniques used on his farm to build and grow a pasture-based farrow-to-finish swine operation with low infrastructure costs for direct-to-retail sales.

A Bright Future With Solar Grazing

Aaron Steele | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Solar grazing, the practice of commercially grazing livestock beneath solar panel installations, may become a huge opportunity for innovative farmers and ranchers. While the session will include a basic rundown of on-the-ground grazing practices, the primary focus will be big-picture: examining where solar grazing demand is coming from, what customers want and need and how farmers can satisfy them.

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Friday Session 3

3:30-4:30 p.m.

Farmer-to-Farmer: Women Raising Pigs – the Challenges and Joys

Kate Mendenhall & Kristten Buttermore | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Iowa is the heart of confinement pig production. It can be daunting to try something different, and doubly so being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Join Kate Mendenhall and Kristten Buttermore as they discuss the challenges and joys of being women farmers, starting farms from scratch and raising hogs on a small acreage. Kate raises pigs on pasture, and Kristten operates a deep-bedding system in an open barn.

When Will This Purchase Pay for Itself?

Ellen Polishuk | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Every winter, farmers revisit their wish lists to choose which upgrades, equipment or major repairs they want to invest in. But how do you balance the impulse to buy something just because you want to? Let’s explore a simple spreadsheet tool that can help us think through how this purchase will change costs and income on the farm. This partial budget analysis will help determine the bottom-line question: How quickly will this purchase pay for itself?

Land Easements: A Strategy for Conservation and Preservation of Sustainable Agriculture

Suzan Erem, Erin Van Waus, James Peterson & Carissa Shoemaker | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

How can you ensure the next generation will preserve and protect your land? A conservation easement is a legal document that attaches specific land uses to a land deed. Hear from Jim Petersen, farmer and PFI member who purchased land with an easement attached, and learn how the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Whiterock Conservancy each use easements to protect land in Iowa.

Roundtable: Addressing Barriers to Food-Grade Field Crops in the Midwest

CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

What barriers keep farmers from growing food-grade crops? How can a farmer break into food-grade markets? What would make food-grade crops and markets more feasible? Join the conversation in this roundtable to discuss the ideas, questions and challenges of food-grade field crops in the Midwest and what changes farmers want to see on the landscape.

Incorporating Perennial Ground Covers in Row-Crop Production

Brandon Schlautman | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to terminate a cover crop and could grow your own nitrogen? Ever considered how your farm would operate if your row crops were planted into perennial companion legumes? Join this session to learn about the latest research from the Land Institute and its work to develop legume crops that can be interseeded between rows of grains in diversified cropping systems.

Planning, Planting and Managing Prairie: Lessons From On-Farm Experience

Laura Jackson | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

With the right planning, CRP can produce excellent habitat for birds and pollinators. Since 1998, the Tallgrass Prairie Center has focused on seed mix design, planting and site preparation and the practical details to establish prairie that succeeds on multiple levels. Join this session with Laura Jackson to hear about her work with farmers and landowners, restoring prairie habitat and conducting on-site research to address each site’s unique challenges.

Roundtable: Q&A on Precision Conservation

Nathan Anderson | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Implementing conservation practices can be challenging in the beginning to those unfamiliar with the array of federal programs available. Join this audience-driven roundtable session for advice and ideas about on-farm precision conservation planning and practices. This session is a follow-up to the “Farm the Best, Leave the Rest” session hosted by Josh Divan. Bring your questions, experience and stories.

Is the Price Right for Scaling Up?

Dan Fillius & Sam Oschwald Tilton | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

In this interactive gameshow-meets-vegetable-farm mashup, hosts Dan Fillius and Sam Oschwald Tilton will guide the audience through the intricate decisions around right-sizing your vegetable farm. Build your understanding of the costs and benefits of different scales of growing – and maybe even leave with fabulous prizes! Just like on the real “The Price is Right,” contestants will place bids and compete for a vegetable-farm inspired showcase showdown!

Communicating Production Practices to Consumers

Amanda Severson, Jordan Green & Laura Tidrick | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

You’ve taken special care in raising your animals and now you have a great product. How do you convey everything that went went into raising your livestock – and why it should matter to a consumer? We’ll learn about connecting with consumers, pushing back against misconceptions and breaking through the noise.

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Saturday Session 1

9-10 a.m.

Successful Land Leases for Horticulture Production: Considerations for Landowners and Tenants

Nancy Brannaman, Amber Mohr & Monika Owczarski | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Buying or leasing acres for horticulture production requires unique considerations for a landowner and tenant. What’s a fair rental rate? How can you plan for crops that may take several years to produce? If tenants invest in infrastructure or perennial crops, what’s a fair leasing term? Join landowners and producers to discuss how to be successful when buying and leasing land for horticulture production.

Alternative to Rye? Testing Winter Camelina in the Field

Emery Davis & Ruth McCabe | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Hear from farmer Emery Davis and conservation agronomist Ruth McCabe about ongoing winter camelina trials and what to know about growing camelina in Iowa. Winter camelina is gaining traction as a winter oilseed cover crop or double crop, and is an alternative to rye ahead of corn.

Successfully Planting Into Cover Crops

Jacob Bolson & Mike Crow | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

What disk-openers should I use? How much down-pressure do I need? When and how are others terminating a cover crop? What if I’m organic and need to till? These are among the questions farmers ask when considering planting corn or soybeans following a cover crop. Hear from Jacob Bolson and Mike Crow about their methods for planting cash crops into cover crops in the spring in both conventional and organic systems.

How Can Farmers Help Beekeepers? Lessons From STRIPS Research

Matt O’Neal, Philip Ebert, Randall Cass & Dean Coleman | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Beekeepers suffer stunning losses when colonies do not survive the winter. Several factors contribute to these losses, including pathogens, pesticides and poor forage. Research suggests poor forage may be contributing more to bee health than people suspect, and a recent survey of beekeepers, farmers and landowners by ISU suggests a strong consensus to make beekeeping more sustainable in Iowa. This session will discuss how farmers can contribute to making honeybees more productive, with input from beekeepers.

After the Gold Rush: Balancing High Tunnel Soil Chemistry Over Consecutive Years of Production

Allen Philo | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Consecutive years of intense vegetable crop production under high-tunnel conditions can have a detrimental effect on soil chemistry. What is a grower to do after the “gold rush” of those early years of productivity, when nutrient excesses often result? Allen Philo will address special challenges that can arise in high tunnels and how to troubleshoot challenges of specific vegetables grown under cover.

How to Get the Most Out of QuickBooks Without Adding More Work

Julia Shanks | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

QuickBooks is a powerful tool that helps track sales, expenses and cash flows. But it can do so much more! Poke around the reports list to discover all kinds of valuable information. You’re already doing the hard work of data entry; now move to the next level of using that data. In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss how to get the most from your items list in QuickBooks Online, how to set up and use the classes feature and how to customize reports.

Roundtable: Impact and Discussion of the Local Food Purchasing Assistance Program

CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Launched in September 2022, the Local Food Purchasing Assistance Program has just completed its first pilot phase, purchasing local products directly from farmers for immediate local distribution. This roundtable is an opportunity to learn about the program’s progress to date and how to get involved. You’ll also hear from farmers participating in the program and have a chance to share feedback and ideas with program managers. Learn more about the program at iowalfpa.org.

Farmer-to-Farmer: Raising Sheep for Wool

Stennie Nelson & Stacy Dresow | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Wool can be an excellent value-added product of raising sheep, but the process requires some extra knowledge and skills to navigate the wool market. In this session, Stacy Dresow and Stennie Nelson will have an open conversation about their journeys toward raising sheep for wool. Stacy has been raising and marketing Cormo and Cormo-cross wool for over 12 years, and Stennie is a beginning farmer getting started on her sheep farming business.

Fencing Techniques for Difficult Terrain

Tom Beard & Margaret Chamas | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Setting a good fence is crucial to successfully grazing livestock, but the landscape doesn’t always make it easy. Tom Beard and Margaret Chamas will discuss their successes and challenges in fencing a variety of terrains, and will share tips and tricks they’ve picked up along the way.

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Saturday Session 2

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Global Greens Farmers Share Their Experiences and Visons for the Future

CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Global Greens is an incubator farm program providing land and business coaching for farmers who came to Iowa as refugees, and whose market vegetable production has outgrown a community garden plot. After completing the Global Greens program, they’ll seek new acres in the Des Moines area. Join some of these farmers as they share stories about their experiences growing vegetables from their homelands, how they are developing market strategies and their visions for the future.

What’s Your Clover Worth? Investigating Nitrogen Credits Ahead of Corn

Rachel & Alec Amundson | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

With high nitrogen prices, cutting input costs is a critical budget consideration. Rachel and Alec Amundson will share how they’ve managed and grown nitrogen in their rotations. Learn about nitrogen credits from clover and how Alec and Rachel make corn following clover work on their farm.

Extending Field Crops Rotations With Black Beans, Sorghum and Sunflowers

Jean Bertrand Contina | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Have you thought about shaking up your field crop rotations? Consider crops like black beans, sorghum or sunflowers! Join Dr. Jean Bertrand Contina, research director at the Midwest Organic Center, as he highlights research exploring the use of food crops to extend traditional corn and soybeans rotations.

PFI’s Cost-Share Programs: Outcomes and Opportunities

Lydia English | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

In the last two years, more than 1,000 farmers have enrolled in PFI’s cover crop and small grains cost-share programs, totaling over 500,000 acres. What have we learned through these programs? What are the farmers saying? What are we planning next? Curious how to be involved? Join us to find out!

Neonicotinoid-Treated Seeds: Experience and Thoughts Following On-Farm Research

Matt O’Neal, Sam Bennett & Emery Davis | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Neonicotinoids are an effective insecticide, but are they necessary as seed treatments? Join Matt O’Neal and farmers Emery Davis and Sam Bennett as they share their ongoing experiences with neonic-treated seed research at Iowa State University and on their farms, and how this research impacts their practices.

Are Tomatoes Worth It? Evaluating Profitability Crop by Crop

Liz Graznak | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

What makes a crop worth growing? As any farmer can attest, some crops are reliable, easily managed profit centers while others take a lot of time and attention for low profit. And every farmer has that crop they just don’t like to grow. Enterprise budgets provide helpful answers but may not give the whole picture. Farmer Liz Graznak has a decision framework for evaluating what she can grow, what makes money for her farm and what she really wants to grow.

Mushroom Production on a Chef-Driven Vegetable Farm

Kevin Novak | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Are you growing or considering mushrooms as an enterprise? You should talk to Kevin Novak. A former chef, Kevin has built a farm that caters exclusively to Omaha-area chefs. While he provides microgreens and other produce, mushrooms are his key crop – he sells 500-600 pounds per week. Come hear Kevin’s perspectives on mushroom production, from raising diverse species to producing at a range of scales both indoors and outside. He’ll also share insights into his unique market stream.

Roundtable: Fiber Meet-Up

Wendy Johnson & Johnny Rafkin | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Calling all fiber producers! Come gather to find out who else is growing fiber. We’ll learn what our peers are doing and how they are doing it. We’ll also discuss “fibersheds” and their potential in the region. This roundtable is geared toward those already involved in the world of fiber and looking to develop connections and relationships.

Grass-Finishing Beef

Knute Severson, Jamie Hostetler & Barney Bahrenfuse | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Raising cattle is always a challenge, but doing so in a rotational system ups the ante. When the aim is to finish cattle on grass, few farmers know how to do it well. Jamie Hostetler, Barney Bahrenfuse and Knute Severson are among the graziers who have established successful grass-finishing livestock operations. Join them as they share their techniques for managing forage, what to look for in cattle to be successful on grass and the difficulties they face in producing a profitable, high-quality product.

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Saturday Session 3

1-2 p.m.

Planting, Cultivating and Harvesting the Seeds of Urban Farming

Donna Pearson McClish | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

In this session, participants will dive deeper with keynote speaker Donna Pearson McClish to identify the “seeds” needed to harvest bumper crops for our next generations. Donna will share in more detail about experiences unique to growing in an urban area. She will explain how her mobile market collaborates with a growing network of local producers to provide fresh, locally grown food distributed to food deserts and food-insecure areas in her region.

Implementing Conservation Practices: Landowner and Farmland Tenant Perspectives

Mike Henning, Mollie Aronowitz & Jacob Bolson | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Are you interested in planting cover crops or implementing other conservation practices on the land but don’t know where to start? Join landowner Mike Henning, farmland tenant Jacob Bolson and farmland manager Mollie Aronowitz for a panel discussion on ways landowners and tenants can begin to make changes on the land.

Roundtable: Beyond Corn and Soy – The Future of Extended Rotations

CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Ever wondered what you would add to your rotations to give corn and soy a break? This session will give you a chance to discuss what rotations you haven’t tried, what you think could work in your system and the benefits or barriers to incorporating something new into existing rotations.

Flame Weeding and Non-Chemical Weed Control Strategies

Paul Huenefeld | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Looking to cut herbicide use? Just looking to learn more about organic weed control? Learn from Paul Huenefeld about weed control strategies in his organic system. Flame weeding plays a large part in organic weed control on Paul’s farm, and is one piece of a multi-faceted approach to non-chemical weed control that sets him up for success in corn and soybeans.

Lighting Talks Round #1

Lightning talks will be selected from proposals submitted this fall, and the final line-up will be published in the conference program. Stay tuned!

Fire and Grazing: How Native Americans Manage the Prairie Landscape

Mike Durglo | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

For thousands of years, the Salish and other Tribes of northern Montana have set fire to native grasslands, shaping the plants and animals that call the prairie home. In this session, Michael Durglo will discuss the historical use of fire on the land and how fire was used by Tribes and First Nations to sustain cultural and ecological resources.

Horticulture Marketing Conversation Café

CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Whether selling vegetables at the farmers market, flowers via CSA or apples to a wholesale buyer, marketing crops is part of every horticulture farmer’s job. This session offers time and space to dig into conversations with peers about what you’ve learned, what questions you have and what excites you about marketing what you grow.

Roundtable: Grazing Native Perennials – Small Victories and Large Challenges

John Hogeland | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

For millennia, huge herds grazed the native perennials of the Iowa prairie. Now, cool-season perennials dominate pasturelands. But unlike the summer-adapted prairie plants, these newcomers to the landscape struggle during a summer slump, exactly when native warm-season perennials thrive. Join this roundtable to discuss efforts to establish and graze native perennials as a routine part of management practices.

Parasite Management for Sheep

Alyona Michael & Maja Black | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Sheep are notoriously prone to parasites, a reality that has led to any number of recommendations on how to deal with them. Somewhere between routine drenches and strictly holistic management, does a middle-ground, practical solution exist? Join veterinarian Alyona Michael and farmer Maja Black as they talk about their diagnoses, recommendations and on-the-ground efforts to manage the parasite problem.

 

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Saturday Session 4

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Reframing the Conversations Around Agricultural Soil Carbon

Steven Hall | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

This session will explore the latest research from long-term experiments exploring changes in soil carbon in diversified cropping systems. Learn how this research can inform soil health decisions on your farm and how different agricultural practices affect soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. As curiosity in carbon-based markets increases, make sure you have all of the facts.

Farmer-to-Farmer: Michael Vittetoe and Lisa Kubik

Lisa Kubik & Michael Vittetoe | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Lisa Kubik and Michael Vittetoe come from different parts of the state, but both are bringing fresh energy – and new livestock – to their family (and in-law family) farms. Join them as they chat about grazing cover crops, soil health, raising cattle and more in this farmer-to-farmer session.

Mitigating Pesticide Drift to Crops, Livestock and On-Farm Habitat

Karen Varley & Rob Faux | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Being hit with pesticide drift or misapplication is a nightmare scenario for many farmers, especially those with high-value specialty and food crops. Join Rob Faux and Karen Varley as they discuss how to deter drift and how to manage and appropriately document damage if drift occurs. This session will cover the processes for mitigating drift damage on the farm and in a legal setting.

Chestnut Management for Intermediate and Advanced Growers

Tom Wahl & Kathy Dice | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Achieving chestnut productivity happens in stages. Establishing a grove requires certain steps and attention, but what about after that? Intermediate and advanced growers must address deer management, pesticide drift, market development and ways to productively use space between growing trees. Chestnut gurus Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice of Red Fern Farm will address all this and more in a follow-up to previous programs for chestnut beginners.

Slow Your Bolt: Heat-Tolerant Lettuce Varieties for In-Field Production

Ajay Nair & Jill Beebout | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Lettuce is an indispensable crop on many veggie farms, with broad appeal to consumers and farmers. But production hits a wall once the weather heats up. Research trials have explored heat-tolerant varieties to crack the mystery of how to meet customer demand for lettuce through the summer. Hear from ISU’s Ajay Nair and farmer Jill Beebout about their favorite – and not so favorite – lettuce varieties to withstand an Iowa summer in the field.

Getting Started in Bison, From Range Management to Handling Facilities

Zanen Pitts & Cody Howerton | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Bison play a significant cultural and environmental role in the prairie landscape. In this session, Zanen Pitts and Cody Howerton will walk us through the fundamentals of a bison ranching operation, from getting started, to handling, to larger challenges in the industry. He’ll also discuss how good bison management impacts the land, and the bison’s cultural importance.

The Journey to a Regenerative System at Organic Compound

Wil Crombie | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

When Wil Crombie and his family started on their journey of transforming the homestead where Wil was raised, they sought to do so with integrity and a commitment to regenerative practices. Today, Organic Compound has a diverse agroforestry system with hazelnuts, elderberries, silvopastured poultry and more. The farm is also the site of the first commercially scaled regenerative poultry enterprise in partnership with Tree-Range Farms. Wil credits the farm’s success to partnerships like that, along with business relationships, shared investments, generational lands and community support. Learn from Wil as he shares how he worked with his friends and family to invest in a regenerative future.

Lightning Talks Round #2

Lightning talks will be selected from proposals submitted this fall, and the final line-up will be published in the conference program. Stay tuned!

Roundtable: Local Food Policy Discussion

Carmen & Maja Black and Tommy Hexter | CCAs: 1.0 CEU credit approved

Join fellow local food producers in a shared conversation focused on agricultural issues, concerns and ideas related to producing, processing, adding value and selling local foods in Iowa. Local and state representatives, agency staff and advocacy groups are invited and encouraged to attend and listen in on this farmer-led discussion, facilitated by Carmen Black of Sundog Farm and Tommy Hexter of Iowa Farmers Union.

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