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Upcoming PFI Field Days Feature Organic Farming

Upcoming PFI Field Days Feature Organic Farming

Controlling weeds, pests and animal diseases organically are topics for August 18 field day at Harlan; organic seed options and managing manure are two topics for August 17 field day at Keystone.

Ron and Maria Rosmann, their son Mark, and another son Daniel and his wife, Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, invite the public to attend a Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day at Rosmann Family Farms, Thursday, August 18, from 2 to 5 p.m. The Rosmanns farm near Harlan in western Iowa.

This free event features guest speaker Todd Churchill, who runs Thousand Hills Cattle Co. in Cannon Falls, Minn. He'll share experiences buying grass-fed cattle, approximately 1,000 head a year, from local producers. He then processes and sells them to a variety of retailers in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Participants will learn about pink-eye control in organic livestock production from presenter Annette O'Connor, DVM, Iowa State University. She will highlight results of a study funded by an ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences On-Farm Research and Demonstration Grant.

Aphid-resistant soybeans, organic livestock production, grass-fed beef

In addition, the Rosmanns will share data from an aphid-resistant soybean research trial that has been underway on the farm for three years now. They will also talk about using multiple planting dates for soybeans and a ridge-till weed control study in soybeans. The afternoon includes an organic meal. Following dinner, Ron, Daniel and Mark will conduct a fencing-construction demonstration.  

"We've had the privilege of hosting many field days for PFI over the years and what we look forward to most is the exchange of ideas," says Ron Rosmann. "We never fail to take away as much as we hope to impart. It's especially exciting to be holding this field day with our sons, Mark and Daniel, and Ellen, Daniel's wife. They are part of the next generation of farmers and bring a new perspective and new energy to the mix that makes me feel good about the future."

The Rosmanns grow and market diverse crops and livestock. Half of their herd is grass-fed while the other half is both grain and grass-fed. This 700-acre, certified-organic farm also includes a 60-sow farrow-to-finish hog operation and a 90-head cow-calf herd. They direct market some of their meat and their popcorn. They also raise corn, soybeans, oats, triticale, hay, pasture, various cover crops and annual forages. 

Directions: From the intersection of Hwy 59 and Hwy 44 in Harlan, travel 2 miles west on Hwy 44, then 2.25 miles north on Ironwood Road. The farm is on the west side of Ironwood Road. Anyone is invited to attend this free event.

Organic seed options and managing manure at Keystone on August 17

Tyler Franzenburg is always looking for answers to his on-farm challenges. His curiosity has led him down two career paths, organic farmer and certified manure applicator. He farms with his father near Keystone in eastern Iowa.

Tyler and his father Greg invite you to their organic farm Wednesday, August 17, to discover what they have learned about managing manure, to check out organic corn and soybean seed choices, and to see how to maximize nutrients and minimize nitrogen losses from soil. Learn how research and demonstration projects have paved both career paths and are helping Tyler to improve his and others' farms. 

This free Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day begins with lunch at noon and ends at 4 p.m. After lunch, participants will be looking at test plots of organic corn hybrids and soybean varieties, viewing aphid-resistant soybeans and discussing improved manure management and handling. Tyler will share information on how soil and manure testing are used to achieve optimal manure allocation and highlight a variety of methods for adding nutrients to the soil. Nitrogen availability and avoiding nitrogen losses will be examined as well. 

They will also share the rotational grazing methods used on their farm in a group-discussion format so everyone can exchange ideas, information and methods that work best for them. "I hope we draw a lot of different people with different interests," says Tyler. "I want to show them that there are some really good organic seed options available, and I'm looking forward to sharing ideas for maximizing productivity while conserving resources."

About the Franzenburg farm and Tyler's manure management business 

On their organic farm, Greg and Tyler raise 80 acres of corn, soybeans, small grains and mixed hay. They use rotational grazing on their pasture to raise a small cow-calf herd and direct market some of their beef. Their crops have been certified organic since 2002.  They have worked with Practical Farmers of Iowa for the past nine years to test a variety of corn hybrids and soybean varieties for organic rotation.

Tyler's business, FFC Enterprises offers organic and non-GMO seed sales, custom liquid manure injection, and crop and manure management consulting services. FFC injects eight to nine million gallons of hog manure annually. With this business, Tyler has turned hog manure into a solution for putting nitrogen back into the soil. "I focus on smart use of resources and try to help farmers add just the right amount of liquid manure, 'brown gold,' to their fields for optimal nitrogen levels without excess," he says.

Directions: From Hwy 30, go north into Keystone on V42/15th Ave; continue north; farm is 1.5 miles north of Keystone on the west side of the road.

Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call 515.232.5661 or visit

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