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Beginning Farmer Field Day Will Cover Unique Topics

Beginning Farmer Field Day Will Cover Unique Topics

A beginning farmer at Elma in northeast will hold a field day on September 10, and some unique topics will be explored—niche pork production, on-farm energy and farm succession.

Beginning farmer James Frantzen will share his experiences regarding his start in farming. He is building a niche pork production business on his acreage near Elma in northeast Iowa. Practical Farmers of Iowa  will sponsor a Field Day on Frantzen's farm on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

James farrows sows and raises feeder pigs and will discuss the ins and outs of managing associated costs of production, a winter farrowing house renovation project and a state of Iowa-funded windbreak project. He'll also present a slideshow highlighting his efforts to reconstruct the farmstead he purchased in 2009, including building improvements and farm equipment purchases.

In addition, James' parents, Tom and Irene Frantzen, will talk about their farm succession plans and handing over to James the reins of the family farm located three miles down the road in Alta Vista. As they draw closer to retirement, Tom and Irene have asked themselves a tough question, "How can we protect all that we've worked for and ensure that our children can farm this land in the future?"

Handing over the reins of a farming operation to the next generation

The driving motivation behind their succession plan has been to provide for their three grown children, Jess, Jolene and James and keep the family farm together long after they are gone. They will cover topics such as using an irrevocable trust to protect their legacy, the role of life insurance, disaster planning and avoiding conflict with a will.

"We want to prevent a situation where the land would be sold and the proceeds used for our care," explains Tom.

James and his parents have also been working with PFI on-farm energy consultant Rich Schuler to lessen the amount of fossil fuels they consume on their farms. Schuler and UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education's Carole Yates will share finding from the Frantzens' on-farm energy research project. Organic farming specialists from the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), will be on hand with information and will answer questions about making the transition to organic farming.

A snack of Organic Prairie meat, Organic Valley cheese, milk and juice will be provided. This project is supported by a grant from USDA's Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Directions: From New Hampton: go north on Hwy 63 for 11 miles. Turn left (west) on county road 100th St. (gravel road). Go 2.5 miles. Take a right (north) on Key Ave. Farm is the first and only place before the stop sign (west side of road). Or, from Alta Vista go East on 110th St. or B22 for three miles, turn north on Jasper Ave. 1 mile, turn east ½ mile, and again north 1 mile.

Sponsors: Practical Farmers of Iowa and its members will be hosting more than 30 field days in 2011. Most field days are free, and everybody is welcome to all of them. For a copy of the 2011 Field Day Guide, you can call the PFI office in Ames at 515.232.5661 or down load a printable PDF at

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