On-farm safety for agritourism and u-pick field day – July 19, Donnellson

For Release: July 8, 2015

DONNELLSON, Iowa — For farmers who want to educate the public about their farm businesses or create a more personal connection with their customers, inviting people to pick their own pumpkins or purchase farm-raised meat or produce can be a fun and effective means of outreach. But starting an agritourism business is not a simple matter, says farmer Kathy Hohl.

Kathy operates Harvestville Farm with her son, Adam, and daughter-in-law, Julie, near Donnellson. She says that beyond basic considerations, such as having appropriate insurance, choosing to invite people onto your farm requires family commitment, thoughtful planning, and attention to detail to ensure safety in everyday situations, as well as the inevitable crises that might arise, from bad weather to a guest’s health emergency.

“We live and work on our farm every day, and don’t necessarily see the dangers or confusion that someone who is not used to being on a farm might see,” she says. “You need to try to look at your farm with new eyes to see the situations that you want to keep people away from. Some are obvious – like your chemicals. But others aren’t. For instance, where do you park people safely on your farm? And how do you direct them where you want them to go – or away from where you don’t?”

Learn more about the nitty-gritty details of starting an agritourism business at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day the Hohl family is hosting on Sunday, July 19, from 2-5 p.m. The event – “On-Farm Safety for Agritourism and U-Pick” – is free to attend, and will include a meal featuring Harvestville Farm produce. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow at (515) 232-5661 or lauren@practicalfarmers.org by Thursday, July 16. Harvestville Farm is located at 1977 state Route 2, about 2 miles east of Donnellson.

Guests will learn about problem areas and best practices for keeping visitors safe; liability considerations with agritourism; developing emergency and crisis plans; using signs to direct people where you want – or don’t want – them to go; and more. Attendees will also go on a safety walk-through of Harvestville Farm with Kathy, Adam and Julie, and Brandi Janssen of the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH), and learn how to conduct a safety walk-through of their own operations.

“We’ll take people to our parking lot and point out some good things – and things we hope to change in the next couple of years as finances permit,” Kathy says. “We’ll also visit our children’s play area and point out things we’ve done to make it a safe environment, as well as things that concern us – and then get field day attendees to give us those fresh eyes. We’re hoping to give people some ideas, as well as invite new ideas for our farm.”

Harvestville Farm is part of a fifth-generation family farm located in southeastern Iowa. For more than 100 years, the family has striven to maintain an ecologically friendly farm; family members firmly believe in being good stewards of the land. Their mission is to provide a fun, safe, educationally based rural experience for families by offering unique, hands-on agricultural-related activities.

Directions: Take Exit 19 (east) from state Route 27 (Avenue of the Saints). Harvestville Farm is 1 mile from the exit on the left (north) side of the road.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 field day season features 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available online at practicalfarmers.org, or contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a printed copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2015 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union in partnership with Town and Country Insurance and Hastings Mutual Insurance; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Crosse Seed; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Pro-Soil Ag Solutions; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.


Kathy, Adam and Julie Hohl | Harvestville Farm | (319) 470-1558 | info@harvestvillefarm.com

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org