2021 Winter Farminar Series

Farminars are held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST, each focusing on a unique production or business management topic. All presentations are led by an experienced farmer or subject-matter expert, and attendees are able to ask questions in real time using a chat box while they listen and watch a slideshow. The presentations are free for anyone with an internet connection.

To learn more about how to participate, visit the main Farminar page.


2021 Winter Farminar Line-Up

Jan. 26 – “Interseeding 60-Inch Corn for Improved ROI” Eric Miller

In 2019, Eric began his own on-farm research project planting 60” corn with a cover crop mix seeded in between the rows in June. He prefers seeding cover crops at this time of year because it fits into his schedule. The wide corn rows result in ample cover crop growth by the fall, which in turn presents opportunities for grazing. Eric says the big plus of this system is his reduced use of inputs like residual herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizer.

  • Eric Miller has been farming in northeast Iowa since 2009. His first years in farming were good as crop prices were high, but after price drops in recent years, he found he was struggling financially and began trying to figure out how to improve his bottom line.

Feb. 9 – “The Top 5 Questions About Pasture-Finishing Pigs” – Steve Dieble, Dayna Burtness

Dayna Burtness has been raising pastured pigs since 2015 at Nettle Valley Farm in southeast Minnesota. In this farminar, she will ask Steve Deibele, an experienced pig farmer, her top five questions around finishing pigs on pasture. Steve owns Golden Bear Farm in Kiel, Wisconsin, and has 20 years of experience. Both farms are in similar climate zones, and the farmers will discuss planting and feeding perennial and annual forages. Tune in to join Dayna and Steve on this dive into pasture-finishing!

  • Steve Deibele and his wife, Marie, have operated a small pasture-based farm near Kiel, Wisconsin, since 2002, producing 250-300 Berkshire hogs per year. The pigs graze on organic pastures, apples and pumpkins.
  • Dayna Burtness has been farming on and off since 2004 and launched Nettle Valley Farm near Spring Grove, Minnesota, in 2015. She finishes heritage-breed hogs on pasture and runs the farm’s beginning farmer program.

 Feb. 16 – “Contract Grazing Cover Crops for Winter Feed” – Jon and Jared Luhman

Father and son team, Jon and Jared Luhman, operate Dry Creek Red Angus in Goodhue, Minnesota. Each winter they contract graze their cattle on cover crops and crop residue – whether it’s on their neighbors’ fields or hauling cattle to Nebraska to overwinter. The Luhmans will discuss their winter grazing arrangements and how they work out the finances to benefit both the landowner and themselves.

  • Jon and Jared Luhman operate Dry Creek Red Angus, a family-owned and operated beef and cash-crop farm in Goodhue, Minnesota, growing organic crops and raising 100% grass-fed Red Angus and Hereford cattle. They direct-market grass-fed beef through a cooperative of local farmers called The Grass Fed Cattle Company, serving Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

Feb. 23 – “High Tunnel Storm Protection and Routine Maintenance” – Adam Montri

Following the powerful derecho windstorm of August 2020, which damaged or destroyed many high tunnels, many farmers wondered what more they could do to strengthen their high tunnels and keep them in good shape for withstanding such severe weather. During this farminar, Adam Montri will draw on his experience building hundreds of high tunnels to share tips for building a strong tunnel, and routine tasks farmers should do to keep their tunnels performing as expected.

  • Adam Montri owns and operates Ten Hens Farm in Bath, Michigan. An expert in high tunnels, he has led seven high tunnel builds with PFI over the last decade, three of which occurred after the derecho in August 2020.

March 2 – Navegando los Primeros Pasos de Cultivo: Producción de Vegetales Orgánicos y Acceso a la Tierra / Navigating the First Steps to Farm: Organic Vegetable Production & Accessing Land – Rodrigo Cala

En la comunidad latina el interés por la agricultura es fuerte, pero las vías para empezar no son claros. Como entrenador agrícola del Latino Economic Development Center en Minnesota, Rodrigo compartirá su experiencia operando una granja de vegetales orgánicos de 46 acres en Turtle Creek, Wisconsin. Únase con Rodrigo en este seminario mientras él comparte cómo planifica sus temporadas de producción, cómo accedió a la tierra y comercializa sus cultivos con una cooperativa.

Nota: Este seminario será presentado principalmente en español.

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In the Latino community, interest in farming is strong but the pathways to begin are unclear. As an agricultural trainer for the Latino Economic Development Center in Minnesota, Rodrigo will share his experience operating a 46-acre organic vegetable farm in Turtle Creek, Wisconsin. Join Rodrigo in this farminar as he shares how he plans his production seasons, accessed land and markets his crops with a cooperative.

Note: This farminar will be hosted primarily in Spanish.

  • Rodrigo Cala grew up on a farm family near Mexico City that grew broccoli and cauliflower. In 1996, Rodrigo moved from Mexico to Minnesota, and in 2012, he and his brother, Juan, launched Cala Farm together in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. Together, they grow certified organic vegetables for food co-ops in the Twin Cities.

Join us at 7 p.m. CST on March 2

March 9 – “Using EQIP to Improve Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands” – Kelsey Fleming

Working lands conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program can be powerful tools for farmers and landowners interested in restoring wildlife habitat. Learn more from Kelsey Fleming, a private lands biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, about how programs like EQIP can provide landowners with financial assistance for wildlife conservation on their farms. Also hear about other technical and financial assistance opportunities available to farmers and landowners. 

  • Kelsey Fleming is a private lands biologist with the Iowa DNR who works with farmers and landowners to provide assistance planning and implementing wildlife habitat projects in southwest Iowa. 

Join us at 7 p.m. CST on March 9

March 16 – “Pollinators & Climate Change: Making an Impact on the Farm” – Angela Laws, Sarah Nizzi

Pollinators face many threats, including a changing climate. During this farminar, learn more from Xerces Society climate change lead, Angela Laws, about how climate change impacts pollinators. Then hear from Sarah Nizzi, Xerces Society farm bill pollinator conservation planner and NRCS partner biologist, about the cost-share and technical assistance programs that can help you sustain pollinators on your farm.

  • Angela Laws is an endangered species biologist and climate change lead for Xerces Society, based in Sacramento, California. Her expertise involves integrating climate resiliency and invertebrate conservation.  
  • Sarah Nizzi is a farm bill pollinator conservation planner and NRCS partner biologist with the Xerces Society, based in Madrid, Iowa. Sarah works across Iowa to offer technical assistance to landowners interested in pollinator habitat.

Join us at 7 p.m. CST on March 16