Practical "Farminars" of Iowa
What's a Farminar?
Practical Farmers of Iowa offers FREE 90-minute, interactive online seminars on a wide variety of farming topics. Broadcast over the Internet, Farminars are held Tuesdays from 7–8:30 pm CST. Check out our current lineup below. Register today to hear about the latest learning opportunities by email.
Go to http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/farminar
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2013 Fall Farminar Line-up
- Nov. 5 – “Crop Insurance by Written Agreement for Apple Orchards in Iowa” – Phil Larabee
Learn the timelines to report and apply for insurance, and the recordkeeping and other requirements to gain crop loss protection.
- Phil Larabee’s mother-in-law, Diane Gravert, owns Gravert's Apple Basket Orchard near Sabula, Iowa, which is managed by Phil’s wife, Laura. The orchard lost 100 percent of its crop in 2005, and more than 50 percent in 2006, both due to late-spring freezes. Phil saw a need for risk management and applied his skills as a licensed insurance agent to successfully insure the orchard’s apple crop, which has been insured since 2009. While apples are federally insurable in the U.S., coverage is not available in Iowa – but Phil obtained insurance by Written Agreement, a USDA Risk Management Agency document designed to provide crop insurance for insurable crops when coverage or rates are unavailable.
- Nov. 12 – “Efficient Crop Marketing and Distribution of Local Foods” – Ellen Walsh-Rosmann and John Lash
Ready to explore a new distribution business to help increase efficiency and amount of local food available in nearby communities? Learn from an established local food distributor now entering its seventh year, hear an Iowa beginning farmer’s vision for her food distribution company, and then listen as the two discuss considerations when creating a local food delivery business.
- Ellen Walsh-Rosmann of Pin Oak Place, near Harlan, Iowa grows fresh vegetables and manages an organic egg-laying poultry flock with her family. She recently gained access to a delivery truck to distribute products to restaurants and select grocery stores in the Omaha area.
- Since 2007, John Lash’s company, Farm to Table, has helped distribute locally grown vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and cheeses to restaurants, grocery stores and institutional clients. Starting with a few dozen customers, Farm to Table now serves more than 500 in Austin, San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country with farm products from 18 local farms.
- Nov. 19 – “Transplant Production Improvement Considerations” – Chris Blanchard
Explore systems to keep your transplants happy (even in the heat of summer) so they are ready to grow in top condition.
- Chris Blanchard owns Rock Spring Farm near Decorah, and provides education and outreach about systems and tools for farmers to succeed in agriculture, business and life through Flying Rutabaga Works.
- Dec. 3 – “Revenue Projections and Profit Potential of Grass-Based Livestock” – Ryan Herman and Neal and Laura Vellema
Listen in as an experienced livestock farmer shares his insight with beginning graziers.
- Ryan Herman has grazed livestock as his business with his father, Gene, for just over 10 years in the hills of the Mississippi River Valley of northeast Iowa. Now on his own, he has around 190 cow-calf pairs. He retains the calves to put on grass as yearlings, selling a few of them as grass-finished. He also has a flock of hair sheep. The Hermans have not raised hay since 2005, relying instead on stockpiled pasture and purchased hay. Ryan’s farm recordkeeping and grazing planning are exemplary heavily influenced by Holistic Management trainings.
- Neal and Laura Vellema raise pastured beef near Harris, Iowa. While Neal works full-time on his parents’ dairy farm, he and Laura have started raising their own steers on pasture. Future goals include farming full-time on their own dairy, or raising mixed livestock and potentially some vegetables.
- Dec. 10 – “Building Relationships, Building Customers” – Jordan Clasen and Jody Bolluyt
Relationship-building can be a powerful marketing tool. Hear from two farms of different scales about how they focus on building relationships with customers to be successful.
- Jordan Clasen operates Grade A Gardens in Johnston, which supplies the Des Moines area with certified organic gourmet garlic and fresh vegetables, including onions, shallots, leeks, kale, carrots and potatoes. In 2012 he expanded production on 10 rented, certified organic acres to service wholesale and retail customers, including a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) market.
- Since 2000, Jody Bolluyt has worked as a farmer at Roxbury Farm, a 300-acre diverse community-supported farm near Kinderhook, N.Y. that grows vegetables, herbs and grass-fed pork, lamb and beef for more than 1,200 families. Jody grew up in Adel, Iowa, and has family who farm near Yale, Iowa. During her time at Roxbury Farm, she has focused farm sales on CSA shares, dropping wholesale customers and foregoing sales at farmers markets.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
FARMINAR - "Managing cover crops"
Many farmers planted cover crops on prevented planting acres this season and now have questions about managing those acres this fall and winter. Other farmers are considering planting cover crops for the first time this fall and have questions about species selection, timing, spring management and more.
Practical Farmers of Iowa will address these and other cover crop questions in a free online seminar, or “farminar,” on Thursday, Sept. 19, from 1-2:30 p.m. Farmers, agronomists, certified crop advisors, landowners and others who have questions about cover crops or managing them on prevented planting acres are invited and encouraged to attend. To participate, go to http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/farminar.
Certified crop advisors who view the farminar will earn 1.5 hours of soil and water management CEUs. To receive credit if attending live, sign into the farminar with your last name and six-digit CCA number, typed without spaces (e.g., “Smith123456”). If watching the archived version, contact Joan O’Brien with Agribusiness Association of Iowa at
or (515) 262-8323 by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27.
The farminar will be archived and viewable on Practical Farmers’ website, but will not be available for CCA credits after Sept. 27. Topics covered will include recommendations for managing cover crops on prevented planting acres; standard fall and spring cover crop management; and a general overview of cover crops, including current science, research and management recommendations. The farminar will also leave ample time for audience questions. Speakers on the farminar will include:
- Bob Lynch, a farmer near Gilmore City, who will discuss his experience with prevented planting and how he is managing cover crops on prevent planting acres, including letting winter kill the crop instead of glyphosate.
- Mark Peterson, who farms near Stanton, who will discuss his plan for managing cover crops next spring.
- Tom Kaspar, research agronomist with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, will discuss the basics of working with cover crops, from selection and general management considerations to current research on cover crops and soil health.
SPECIAL June Farminar
FARMINAR - "Cover crop options for prevented planting acres in Iowa"
This spring has presented challenging conditions for farmers hoping to plant corn and soybeans in Iowa and across much of the Midwest. Also, cover crops have become a popular choice for farmers looking to enhance soil health, improve soil structure, prevent erosion and reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loss on their farms. But many questions remain about which cover crop varieties to select and the practical management questions farmers must consider for all scenarios. Practical Farmers of Iowa along with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa/Iowa Certified Crop Advisers, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship invite you to learn and ask questions about how cover crops can successfully fit into prevented planting acres this year.
To participate in the farminar go to: http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/farminar Click "Enter as a Guest" and type in your first and last name. Click "Enter Room"
Note for Certified Crop Advisors
If watching live: to receive CCA soil and water credits sign into the farminar using your last name followed by your 6-digit CCA number. Ex: Carlson123456.
If watching archived version: to receive CCA soil and water credits contact Joan O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515.262.8323 by 5pm Monday, June 24 to receive credit.
*Farminar will be archived on the Practical Farmers of Iowa website but will not be available for CCA credits after 5pm Monday, June 24.
- Welcome and Introductions. Luke Gran, Practical Farmers of Iowa Next Generation Coordinator
- Certified Crop Advisor Credits. Jim Frederick, Iowa Certified Crop Advisers
- Conservation Practices + Prevent Plant = Nutrient Reduction Strategy Benefits. Jim Gillespie, Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship
- Crop Insurance Rules for Prevented Planting and Cover Crops. Kevin Erickson, Risk Management Authority
- Why use cover crops on prevented planting acres? Barb Stewart, State Agronomist, Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Herbicide considerations when adding cover crops. Dr. Bob Hartzler, Iowa State University
- Cover Crop Scenarios and Resources. Sarah Carlson, Practical Farmers of Iowa
- Question and Answer
2013 Spring Farminar Lineup
March 19 - Cover Crop Decision-Making Tools
Just getting started with cover crops or want to hone your cover crop selections? Learn more about two online tools, the SmartMix (cover crop) Calculator, developed by Green Cover Seed of Bladen, NE and the Cover Crop Selector Tool developed by the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group in Ames, IA. Both resources are available online for farmers and landowners to improve their cover crop decision-making.
- David Ausberger, rowcrop and cover crop farmer from central Iowa;
- Keith Berns, farmer and owner of Green Cover Seed in Bladen, Neb.; and
- Sarah Carlson, research and policy director for Practical Farmers of Iowa, will demonstrate these tools, explain how they originated and ways to use them.
March 26 - Network with other PFI Beginning Farmer Trainees and Trainers
Beginners, learn how to be an excellent employee and learn the most on the job this summer. Farmer employers, hear how farmers make time for a better learning experience for employees.
- Julia Slocum, of Lacewing Acres in Ames, is starting her first year of raising vegetables on her own. Previously, she spent two years working on farms in the Midwest to explore her interests and learn new skills.
- Jill Beebout, of Blue Gate Farm near Chariton, has employed seasonal workers for seven years. She has hired a range of people, from teenagers working their first job to people interested in eventually starting their own farms.
April 2 - How to Hire Farm Laborers, By the Books
Have you thought about hiring farm employees but feel confused or unsure where to start? This farminar is for you.
Learn from two farmers about their experiences hiring farm laborers across the spectrum, from H-2A visa holders and migrant seasonal contractor crews, to regular part-time workers and full-time employees. Listen in as the farmers ask questions of experts from each regulatory agency that Iowa farmers will need to work with in order to be legally compliant farm employers.
- Jeanne Hansen, of Hansen Dairy in Hudson, employs people as part of the farm operation, processing facility and three retail locations.
- Ben Saunders of Wabi Sabi Farm, an organic fruit and vegetable CSA farm near Granger, hires seasonal full-time employees, part-time employees and short-term contract crews, and works with volunteers on his farm.
Labor Regulation Experts
- Michael Staebell - U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division
- Dave Eklund - Iowa Workforce Development
- Karen Pfab - Wage and Child Labor, Division of Labor Services
- Marco Adasme - State Monitor Advocate, Iowa Workforce Development