Practical Farmers of Iowa is excited to announce their fall lineup of online webinars, or "farminars." The PFI organization has four farminars scheduled for this fall, beginning November 2. To register and participate in the farminars, all you have to do is visit www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar.
Farmers have asked for more learning opportunities in the off-season, with farmers as presenters of the information. Anyone who has access to a computer with an internet connection can participate and learn from the farmers who are making the PFI farminar presentations online.
Ryan and Mikyla Dittman, beginning pork farmers near Hospers in northwest Iowa, participated in last winter's farminar series. "We are looking forward to the farminars and really enjoyed them in the past," says Ryan. Farminars will get a "Fish Bowl" view of a beginning farmer learning from a more experienced farmer. Participants watch and can ask additional questions not covered by the beginner.
Practical Farmers of Iowa fall farminars are:
* Tuesday, November 2, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., "Cover Crops and Natural Manures" with Mark Quee and Sally Gran
Learn how to use cover crops and livestock manure to improve soil fertility and structure. Mark Quee farms at Scattergood Friends School farm in West Branch in eastern Iowa and has great experience in this topic from hand seeding to no-till drill seeding as well as management of livestock. Sally Gran has worked for several Iowa vegetable farms in the past and began her own fresh produce farm in 2010 near Nevada. Learn how to manage cover crops, crop rotation recordkeeping, composting and manure applications.
* Tuesday, November 16, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., "Growing Greens Better" with Larry Cleverley and Glen Elsbernd
Larry Cleverley of Cleverley Farms near Mingo in central Iowa, shares his knowledge of producing high quality fresh greens for Iowa markets. Northeast Iowa farmer Glen Elsbernd worked at Harmony Valley Farm in Wisconsin before beginning his own organic horticulture farm "G Its Fresh," in 2007.
* Tuesday, November 30, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., "Marketing" with Ryan and Kristine Jepsen and Caite Grieshop
The Jepsens graze livestock and manage Grass Run Farm, a pasture-based meat distribution company based in northeast Iowa. Says Kristine, "In the meat business, the goal is to have a 'home' (one or more customers) for all parts of the carcass you're selling. This determines where we focus our marketing energy." Joining the Jepsens is Caite Grieshop, who is beginning a direct market meat business, known as Marshall County Market, in Marshalltown, Iowa.
* Tuesday, December 14, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., "Financing Niche Pork" with Jason Penner and Devan Green
Jason Penner of Butterfield, Minn. has raised niche pork for Niman Ranch for over six years. Penner will share his experiences, what worked for him, and what he would have done differently. Joining Penner will be Devan Green of Conrad who markets his own organic pork as Green's Organics.
All farminars are online if you missed one and want to see it
Practical Farmers of Iowa will offer more winter farminars in January and February 2011. Also, did you miss a seminar? All of the PFI farminars are available archived online at www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar.
PFI's fall 2010 farminars are made possible by funding by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, as outlined by USDA Grant #2010-49400-21843.
Practical Farmers of Iowa includes a diverse group of farmers and friends of farmers. Corn, soybeans, beef cattle, and hay are the top enterprises for PFI farmers, although many have a variety of other operations, including fruits and vegetables. PFI's programming stresses farmer-to-farmer networking through research and demonstration, field days, conferences and more. For more information call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.