E-Mail Discussion Groups

What are the Discussion Groups?

Email discussion groups are a member benefit, and an excellent way to stay in touch with and get advice from your fellow PFI members. You simply send and receive messages like regular emails. You can choose to respond to the individual sender, the whole group, or just sit back and watch.

Joining an email discussion group is one of the simplest ways to stay connected to the PFI community. Keep informed, share events, meet other farmers, landowners and non-farmers interested in diverse agriculture, and get the support you need to make practical food and farm decisions. People that use the discussion list tell us it is one of the most valuable member benefits.

Why Join?

The greatest asset of Practical Farmers is the knowledge and ideas, generously shared, of our dynamic community of members. Our email discussion groups instantly connect you with that network of knowledge from the convenience of your smartphone, home or office.

Quick Facts:

We have five discussion groups to choose from:

Announcements – Messages on this list should focus on topics like seeking machinery, ride-sharing, event notifications, job opportunities, media requests, buy-sell notices or requests, classifieds and similar bulletin-board-style announcements.

Perspectives – Perspectives was envisioned and created to provide a space for civil, open-minded debate and discussion. This new list will also be the home of similar discussions that once took place on the General list. 

Use this space to share articles and videos or present a question. Topics can span the agricultural spectrum, from climate change and pesticide drift to local food systems, ag policy and more. All topics must be related somehow to agriculture – and we are trusting all members on this list will participate in the welcoming, respectful PFI spirit.

Production lists:

For production questions, post in one of our three production lists. You are also welcome to post field crop-related events, notifications, classifieds, etc. – but please do not then cross-post those notices on Announcements. We will leave it up to you to decide where you’d prefer to direct those posts.

  • Field Crops – Use this space to pose production and management questions about field crops, cover crops and small grains and seed.
  • Horticulture – questions and discussion about fruit, vegetable, agroforestry and other horticultural crop production, pests, CSAs and other marketing strategies, events, etc.
  • Livestock – livestock questions, sales, events, production, etc.

You are welcome to join any list above that may be of interest to you. The discussion group activity is managed by PFI staff, and it is easy to join or unsubscribe at any time.

If you are concerned about too many emails, you always have the option to receive a “digest” option.  This option will provide you with one daily email that contains all the emails of the day.

Rules of the Discussion List

  1. Be civil. Gossip, flaming (abusive, inflammatory language) or lengthy criticism is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Read the civility commitment below.
  2. Please remember we are a big-tent organization. Be respectful of different viewpoints and beliefs. Access to the PFI network through email discussion lists is a privilege. We expect participants to exemplify PFI’s “get along, but don’t go along” and knowledge-sharing ethos.
  3. Send messages to the appropriate lists and do not send the same message to multiple lists. Cross-posting of messages is restricted and may result in the removal of the message. If your question intersects two of the production lists, choose one or post in Perspectives. When in doubt Perspectives is the best option.
  4. Keep topics and discussion related to agriculture. References to politicians and their views on ag policy are allowed, but must remain civil & respectful. References to one’s faith as motivation is allowed, but criticizing others’ views or proselytizing is forbidden.
  5. None of the discussion lists is moderated. We expect all list users will be courteous and respectful – and will help to cultivate a civil space for dialogue. However, PFI staff will monitor the discussions and adherence to the rules laid out here.
  6. We treasure openness at PFI, if you are unable to abide by the rules listed here, we will issue a warning. Subsequent offenses may result in your removal from the list.
  7. The listserv is not intended as a platform for advertising a business. However, if a conversation naturally warrants mentioning a service that you or your business provides, that’s acceptable.

Still confused about what is or isn’t OK to post? If you have any questions, reach out to Carly Zierke at carly.zierke@practicalfarmers.org.

Civility Commitment

Our commitment is to learn from each other. We acknowledge differences in beliefs, values, politics, culture, interests and experiences.

Because the internet separates us physically from the people we are speaking with, it can be easier to let ourselves slide into using disrespectful language to talk with each other.

We often see conversations on social media and on internet forums spiral into personal attacks. At PFI, we believe that all of our spaces should be spaces where we respect each other.

We commit to: 

  • Listen respectfully to each other
  • Refrain from personal insults and other disrespectful actions
  • Recognizing and respecting different levels of understanding
  • Actively seek common ground

How do I join?

First, join Practical Farmers of Iowa (join here) and then contact the office at (515) 232-5661 or email debra.boekholder@practicalfarmers.org.