2022 Winter Farminar Series
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 winter months, and run from 7–8:30 p.m. CST. While most farminars are farmer-led, speakers may also include agriculture or conservation practitioners. Farminars air live online and allow participants to ask questions of presenters in real-time.
To learn more about how to participate, visit the main Farminar page.
2022 Farminar Line-Up
Jan. 4: “Fruit & Fodder” – Eliza Greenman
Eliza Greenman works with agroforestry and silvopasture through her businesses HogTree and Fruit & Fodder. She has completed projects all over the U.S., from New England to California rangelands to the subtropics. During this farminar, hear about some of Eliza’s projects and learn why livestock, horticulture and agroforestry go hand-in-hand. You’ll also learn how to use this system to manage input costs and provide quality food.
- Eliza Greenman is a fruit explorer and horticultural historian based in Virginia who designs and implements agroforestry plans that integrate livestock (and humans) into tree crop systems and orchards. At HogTree, Eliza raises pigs in orchards consisting of fruits, nuts and leaves to help offset the cost of livestock feed while providing specialty pork charcuterie meats. Through Fruit & Foder, Eliza offers consulting and design services for integrated livestock, horticulture and forestry systems to reduce costly inputs of growing high-value tree crops and meat.
High-producing organic no-till has long been identified as the Holy Grail of soil health. Join Brett Israel for an evening of sharing as he highlights the successes and challenges 3Gen Organics has experienced on its path to reducing tillage in an organic farm system. From tales of 250-bushel-per-acre corn to soybean yields of just 20 bushels per acre, this farminar will offer an evening of laughter and learning as we discuss alfalfa-fueled corn, no-till organic soybeans and reduced-till organic soybeans.
- Brett Israel is the third active generation in 3Gen Organics, a certified organic mixed farming operation near Drayton, Ontario. 3Gen Organics comprises over 1,200 acres of cropland, as well as a 170-sow farrow-to-finish swine operation and a small flock of laying hens. The majority of what is grown at 3Gen Organics is marketed directly back to the community. Soil health and whole-farm resilience are of great importance to the Israels. Brett is confident that with the right cultural practices, organic producers can achieve competitive productivity relative to their conventional peers, all while improving farm ecology for the next generation.
Join Woody Van Arkel and Cameron Ogilvie as they share results of and experience with on-farm research at Woody’s farm. Research explored different cover crops in combination with manure applications and side-dressed nitrogen. Cover crops included cereal rye, red clover and multi-species blends. Learn how on-farm research like this can help you consider net returns and not solely bushels per acre.
- Laurent (Woody) Van Arkel farms just south of Dresden, Ontario. He has long been innovating with no-till and cover crops in his corn, soybean, wheat and sugar beet rotation. He is also partnering with federal researchers, through Living Lab – Ontario, to better understand the potential for perennial cover crops.
- Cameron Ogilvie is the knowledge mobilization coordinator for Soils at Guelph, a University of Guelph initiative to advance soil management by bridging gaps between farmers, researchers and the public. He has a master’s degree in cropping systems and agronomy from the University of Guelph, where he studied the impacts of cover crops (he prefers to call them “service crops”) on water and nutrient cycling.
Seeds are a foundational piece of any successful farm, but how much do you really know about the seeds you are planting? In this farminar, we will uncover some of the mysteries of the organic seed industry. Who is breeding new varieties, how is the seed being produced and why do well-loved varieties get dropped? Perhaps most importantly, we will discuss ways growers can engage with the variety development process to influence which crops and traits are actively being improved.
- Adrienne Shelton is a senior product specialist with Vitalis Organic Seeds. She earned a master’s degree in plant breeding and plant genetics, and a doctorate in environment and resources, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Adrienne is proud to have participated in the breeding and release of “Who Gets Kissed?,” an open-pollinated sweet corn bred for and with organic farmers. Adrienne serves on the board of directors for the Organic Seed Alliance, and has been engaged with the organic farming movement as a farmer, organizer, seed saver and researcher for over 20 years.
Opportunities for producing berries at unique times of year in the Midwest are exciting, as are those for organic berry production. At Little Berry Farm near Northfield, Minnesota, Aaron Wills is accomplishing both. Hear from Aaron about using caterpillar tunnels to produce day-neutral strawberries, which offer harvests from late summer well into fall.
- Aaron Wills grew up surrounded by farming, but never thought he’d want to be a farmer. After graduating from college, Aaron served for two years in the Peace Corps in Borino, a remote mountain village in Bulgaria. Today Aaron, along with his partner, Molly McGovern Wills, own and operate Little Hill Berry Farm near Northfield, Minnesota, where they grow organic strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, along with pumpkins and native prairie strips. They sell through farmers markets, online sales and U-pick on the farm, where they greet 200-400 customers each picking day during blueberry season.
Paul Mugge and Tim Youngquist come together to share their passion for integrating conservation practices into their family farms through prairie strips. In this farminar, they will share their experience with prairie strips, which includes discovering how strategic use of prairie strips can help protect the land while benefitting native wildlife.
- Paul Mugge, a lifelong environmentalist, lives in Sutherland, Iowa, with his wife, Karen. On their farm, they raise corn, soybeans and small grains, and dedicate portions to pollinator and wildlife habitat. The Mugges have been growing organic crops for nearly 20 years.
- Tim Youngquist is the farmer liaison with Iowa State University’s STRIPS project, which studies the impacts of strategically integrating prairie strips into farm fields. He grew up on a century farm near Kiron, Iowa, that has been in his family since 1871, and where he still farms today. He is both knowledgeable and passionate about production agriculture and natural resource conservation in Iowa.
Ready to improve your marketing and sales efforts? Join Amanda as she speaks about prioritizing multiple distribution channels – specifically, marketing for wholesale, direct-to-consumer and farmers market distribution. She will also focus on social media presence and the role it has in managing these relationships.
- Amanda Severson and Knute Severson own and operate Grand View Beef, raising 100% grass-fed Hereford beef from birth to harvest on their century family farm in Clarion, Iowa. The Seversons use intensive rotational grazing to improve soil health and capture carbon. Amanda manages the farm’s marketing and social media strategies.
What is estate planning? What is the purpose of the probate court? Do you need a trust? What about Medicaid? What can you do with your farmland so your kids and grandkids can enjoy it after you’re gone? Estate planning is a broad field touching on many topics. Whether you’re wondering about asset management, business succession, dealing with “problem” and “favorite” heirs – and anything in between – these questions can impact an estate plan. In this farminar, learn the basics of estate and succession planning, along with the tools and terminology, and take home some personal to-do’s.
- Beverly K. Jones, of Jones Law Office, is a solo attorney based in Tarkio, Missouri, who is licensed in both Missouri and Iowa. She received her Juris Doctor and bachelor’s degree in music education from Drake University, and a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from Northwest Missouri State University. Beverly also manages her family’s century farm, which produces row crops and grass-fed beef, and with her husband, chef Paul Seaman, provides innovative foods to customers in northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa and southeast Nebraska.
Los productores de hortalizas probablemente estén familiarizados con los túneles altos y bajos. Pero, qué son los mesotúneles?
Los mesotúneles son túneles cubiertos de tela de 3.5 pies de altura que actúan como barreras físicas para mantener a las plagas de insectos alejadas de cultivos como calabazas, pepinos o melones. Sin embargo, los mesotúneles también excluyen a los polinizadores y pueden interferir con el control de malezas, por lo que esos problemas deben resolverse para hacer de los mesotúneles un sistema práctico. Escuche a Sharon Badilla compartir su experiencia de experimentos de campo, ensayos de demostración en granjas y experiencias de agricultores para optimizar los sistemas de mesotúnel en la producción de cucurbitáceas orgánicas.
- Sharon Badilla-Arias es una estudiante de maestría en el laboratorio del Mark Gleason en la Universidad Estatal de Iowa en el Departamento de Microbiología y Patología Vegetal. Ella tiene una licenciatura de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Su investigación se centra en la optimización de la polinización y el control de malezas bajo sistemas de mesotúnel, además de un estudio de control biológico del patógeno del marchitamiento bacteriano de las cucurbitáceas, Erwinia tracheiphila.
Vegetable growers may be familiar with high tunnels and low tunnels. But what are mesotunnels? These structures are 3.5-foot-tall, fabric-covered tunnels that act as physical barriers to keep insect pests away from crops like squash, cucumber or melons. However, mesotunnels also exclude pollinators and can interfere with weed control – problems that must be solved to make mesotunnels a practical system. Join Sharon Badilla-Arias as she shares her experience from field experiments and on-farm demonstrations, as well as and farmers’ experiences with optimizing mesotunnel systems in organic cucurbit production.
- Sharon Badilla-Arias is a master’s student in the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Department at ISU studying in Mark Gleason’s lab. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a licentiateship from Universidad de Costa Rica. Her research focuses on optimizing pollination and weed control under mesotunnel systems, as well as biological control of the cucurbit bacterial wilt pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila.
Hannah Bernhardt raises grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork and eggs and livestock guardian dog puppies alongside running a growing agritourism business. With a background in marketing and communications, she will share how she has grown her business by direct-marketing her products solely online through her website. She will also offer advice on ways to prioritize your marketing time and energy.
- Hannah Bernhardt and her husband, Jason, tend the 160 acres of Medicine Creek Farm in northeastern Minnesota. Their regenerative family farm sells 100% grass-fed lamb and beef, organically fed pastured pork and livestock guardian dog puppies.
Working lands conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program can be powerful tools for producers and landowners interested in conservation. However, they can also be challenging to access and confusing to use. Join Kalee Olson and Kayla Bergman of the Center for Rural Affairs to learn more about new resources and potential strategies that will help set producers and landowners up for success.
- Kalee Olson is a policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. She currently resides on the family farm in rural Nebraska where she was born and raised. Kalee is passionate about helping others realize the significance of their narratives, not just in storytelling, but as voices capable of affecting real change.
- Kayla Bergman is a senior policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs based in its Nevada, Iowa, office. She works on a range of federal and state policy issues and works daily to narrate the stories and values of rural citizens. Kayla also serves as a soil and water conservation district commissioner in Story County, Iowa.
During this farminar, join farmer Rob Faux to learn more about pesticide drift. Learn from Rob’s firsthand experience how to identify and respond to a drift incident. Hear about what actions farmers should take in the short and long-term to protect yourself, your family and your farms.
- Rob and his wife, Tammy, operate Genuine Faux Farm, a CSA, produce and poultry operation near Tripoli, Iowa. Since launching the farm in 2005, Rob has been an inquisitive farmer, testing products and concepts on his own and through PFI’s Cooperators’ Program. Rob also works as an Iowa Communications Associate with the Pesticide Action Network.
If you miss a farminar, all past farminars are recorded and posted to PFI’s YouTube channel.