Starting a pasture-based farm and transitioning to full-time are focus of field day at Lipes Family Farm – Aug. 21, West Branch

For Release: August 7, 2015

WEST BRANCH, Iowa — Starting a farm on any scale is a major commitment, but the decision to make a living off the land full-time requires careful thought, planning and a willingness to work hard. Greg and Katie Lipes shared this vision of farming full-time – and in 2013, made that dream a reality.

Greg and Katie operate Lipes Family Farm, a diversified farm near West Branch with a strong focus on humane animal husbandry and sustainable farming practices. The Lipes specialize in pastured meats and eggs, but also grow a limited amount of produce. They didn’t plunge into farming cold-turkey, however. Rather, they started planning years before by taking classes on farming, seeking out internships, writing a business plan and starting their farm on just a few acres to gain experience before going to the next level.

Learn more about how Greg and Katie made this transition and turned their dream of raising pasture-based livestock into reality at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Friday, August 21, from 2-5 p.m. The event – “Getting Started with Pasture-Based Livestock” – is free to attend, and will feature a potluck meal after the program.

Greg and Katie will provide meat from their farm. Guests are asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share. RSVPs are appreciated for the meal, but all are welcome to stay regardless. Please RSVP to Lauren Zastrow, or (515) 232-5661, by Tuesday, Aug. 18. The field day is sponsored by Solon Feed Mill, Inc. Lipes Family Farm is located at 1342 Plato Rd., about 7.5 miles northeast of downtown West Branch.

Attendees will hear about how Greg and Katie got started farming on their farm near West Branch, and how they made the decision to transition to full-time farming. They will discuss the adjustments they made during the transition; marketing strategies; inexpensive housing and equipment design; and low-stress-cattle handling.

Greg will take visitors on a tour of the family’s pasture-based beef, pork and poultry operations, and explain various aspects of how they manage their livestock – and why they do it that way. Some of the Lipes’ management practices include stockpiling pasture for winter feed, calving in May and June, and management- intensive grazing. Greg will also discuss the benefits of being “scrappy.”

“If you want to humanely and sustainably raise animals, but don’t have a million dollars to get started, this field day is for you,” Greg says.

Directions: From I-80, take Exit 254 (West Branch), and head north. Turn left onto Main Street, go 1 block and turn right onto Downey (County Road X30). Downey becomes Baker Avenue as you leave town. In about 4 miles, turn right onto 250th Street. Go 2 miles and turn left onto Plato Road. Lipes Family Farm will be on the right (east) side of the road in about 1.5 miles. (Note: If coming from the north or west, Google Maps sends drivers to a Class B road that you should avoid).

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, 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


Greg and Katie Lipes | Lipes Family Farm | (319) 643-3211 | |

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |