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Pre-Conference Short Courses

Thursday, January 16 from 1 – 6:30 p.m. | Friday, January 17 from 8 – 11:30 a.m.

Four separate short courses are scheduled this year. Registration for the short course is priced per person; members are offered a discounted rate. Short courses begin on Thursday at 1 p.m. and end on Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center. Lunch prior to and dinner following Thursday’s course are not provided. Thursday evening is an ideal time to go out to dinner with fellow farmers.

For short course attendees only, we offer an optional box lunch you can purchase following the short course on Friday. Indicate your box lunch preference in the registration process. Due to the short 1-hour break between the end of the short course and the start of the conference on Friday, many short course attendees find this option convenient

2020 short course offerings:

Conference Sessions

In the sessions at this year’s conference, learn how to improve soil; increase crop and market diversity; reduce inputs; increase financial viability; increase investment in conservation; enhance wildlife habitat; and work toward thoughtful farm transfer. This year’s conference is structured a bit differently than year’s past. Friday will include three sessions and Saturday will have four.

Special Thanks to our Sponsors!

Without our sponsors, the conference just wouldn’t be the same. See who supported us this year.

Congratulations to the 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award winner

Practical Farmers of Iowa gives this award annually to someone who has been most influential in creating healthy soil, healthy food, clean air, clean water, resilient farms and vibrant communities. Paul Mugge, an organic farmer and long-time on-farm research participant from Sutherland is the 2020 recipient of the award.

You’re Invited to our Potluck — New Location!

We are continuing this favorite conference tradition, with a few changes! This year our potluck will be held at CityChurch of Ames-Des Moines, located at 2400 Oakwood Road in Ames. This venue is easy to find and close to the conference hotels.

Also new this year: this event will offer a fully catered meal. But since we still want to honor the potluck tradition, if you would like, you can bring an appetizer, dessert or beverages to share. Practical Farmers will provide water, non-alcoholic beverages and tableware. A free-will donation is appreciated.

Join us for Breakfast on Saturday Morning

Join us at Scheman for a free breakfast and networking opportunity at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Practical Farmers’ Year in Review

As Practical Farmers prepares for the coming year, we take time to reflect on 2019 at our annual business meeting. This year, the annual meeting is changing days and times. Please come to Benton Auditorium (Rm 195) on Saturday at 1 p.m. to learn how Practical Farmers’ mission guided our work in 2019 and what we have in store for 2020. Board elections will also take place; please come and vote!

Certified Crop Advisors

Many of our sessions qualify for CEUs. Check our sessions page for more details.

Wanted: Silent Auction Donations

Please consider donating quality gifts to this long-standing tradition at the conference. Examples of popular silent auction gifts include books, seeds or plant stock, gift baskets and handmade items. Proceeds provide Practical Farmers with funds to fullfill our farmer-led mission. Help us plan ahead by submitting your donation ideas to info@practicalfarmers.org.

Details & Logistics

Location: Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center | 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa

Directions: Near the junction of Interstate 35 and U.S. 30, the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center is located at the corner of Lincoln Way and University Boulevard, Ames, Iowa

Lodging: Practical Farmers has reserved blocks of rooms at three hotels close to Scheman and our new potluck location at CityChurch of Ames-Des Moines. Check our Locations/Amenities page for details such as rates, how to make reservations and more.