Cooperators’ Meeting

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.

Like our annual conference, our 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. Cooperators share results of recently finished projects at the meeting.  The Cooperators’ Meeting is also where new questions are asked and future projects are planned. The two-day-long event is punctuated by a dinner, during which the Master Researcher Award is presented to a member who has conducted 20 or more on-farm research trials and hosted at least five Practical Farmers field days to share knowledge gained over the years.

Unlike our annual conference, however, attending the Cooperators’ Meeting is by invitation-only and participants in our Cooperators’ Program must be members of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Farmer members are welcome to become participants. For more information or to inquire about becoming a cooperator: contact Stefan Gailans at (515) 232-5661 or stefan@practicalfarmers.org


Exercise Your Curiosity at the 2021 Cooperators’ Meeting!

Dec. 16-17 | Ames, IA

Have you ever asked: “What’s better, the practice I’ve been using or this alternative I’ve heard about?” Do you have something you’d like to investigate on your farm? If so, consider the Cooperators’ Program, PFI’s vehicle for farmer-led, on-farm research.

What is on-farm research? On-farm research puts curiosity into action in the spirit of learning, knowledge-sharing and improvement. With simple experimental design and research protocols, you can test ideas and innovations on YOUR unique farm.

What happens at the Cooperators’ Meeting? You’ll join a community of curious and creative farmers who take a scientific approach to improving their farms – and who respect the perspectives and questions of others. When you participate, you can look forward to:

  • A91bw5qpb 1lcxtp2 ch8Shared inspiration and mutual encouragement
  • Brainstorming research ideas with others
  • Good food – including at an event banquet featuring food from PFI farms
  • Making meaningful connections
  • Feeling empowered to answer questions about your farm

What happens next? PFI staff and farmer cooperators mutually agree on project plans and commitments. When the time comes to conduct the trials, farmers are at the helm, carrying out those plans and taking measurements throughout a trial.

Impact of on-farm research: Over the years, the work has resulted in more profitable, diverse and environmentally sound farms and long-term friendships among participants. In many cases, on-farm research has helped transform farmer decision-making.

Questions? We’re always looking for new cooperators who wish to become curiosity-leaders that inspire improvements to our agricultural landscape. Contact us! (stefan@practicalfarmers.org).