Registration is open for Practical Farmers’ 2016 annual conference, “Farmers Teaching Farmers”

For Release: November 19, 2015

AMES, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa is now accepting registrations for its 2016 annual conference, “Farmers Teaching Farmers,” which will take place Jan. 22-23 at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building, on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. All are welcome to attend. Register online at

This year’s theme celebrates the farmer-led approach to learning, teaching and sharing information that has been Practical Farmers’ hallmark for 30 years. Attendees will learn from their farming peers about land and soil stewardship; building community; creating viable farms, farmers and food systems; farm transfer; and more.

The conference – which attracted more than 800 farmers, researchers and supporters last year – will feature:

  • A keynote address by John Kempf, farmer and founder of Advancing Eco- Agriculture. His keynote – “Common Characteristics of Successful Farmers” – will explore characteristics of farming operations he views as “extraordinarily successful,” and how farmers can work those same principles into their decision-making.
  • Thirty-one in-depth workshops on topics that span the agricultural spectrum, such as regenerative grazing, interseeding cover crops, farm energy planning, growing vegetables in high tunnels, establishing pollinator habitat, farm transfer strategies, understanding farm rules and regulations – and more.
  • Nine “Ask an Expert” sessions, set up as Q&A roundtables, where attendees will have a chance to engage more deeply and ask detailed questions of experts.
  • The 2016 SARE Farmers Forum, a traveling annual event organized by North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE). Practical Farmers is hosting the 2016 forum, which gives farmers, ranchers and others funded by NCR-SARE grants the chance to share information about their research and demonstration projects. The Farmers Forum is being offered as a special track at the conference.
  • Two pre-conference short courses: “Growing Good Small Grains,” featuring farmers, researchers and small grains marketers; and “Successful Establishment and Management of Orchard Trees,” featuring tree crop farmer and agroforestry expert Tom Wahl, of Red Fern Farm. Both courses run Thursday, Jan. 21 from 1-7 p.m. and continue Jan. 22 from 8-11:30 a.m., at the Scheman Building.
  • Presentation of the 2015 Farmland Owner Award to the Nimrod family
  • Many opportunities to network and build relationships with other farmers, researchers, consumers and sponsors – including at several regional breakfast meetings on Saturday morning, where guests can meet others from their part of Iowa (or out of state).

Registration: Those who pre-register by Jan. 14 will save $10 per day. Special rates are also available for students and PFI members. Register online at, or contact Erica Andorf: or (515) 232-5661.

Friday Workshops:
• Living Plants as Solar Collectors
• Farming Smarter, Not Harder: Financial Literacy and Business Management
• Regenerative Grazing Management
• Farmland Legacies: What Matters Most?
• Establishing and Managing a Goat Dairy, Creamery and Farm Restaurant
• Understanding Farm Rules and Regulations
• Tackling Fruit and Vegetable Diseases, Weeds and Pests

Saturday Workshops:
• Interseeding Cover Crops
• Managing Nutrition for Plant Health and Yield
• Start to Finish: Producing and Marketing Grass-Fed Lambs
• Nitrogen – Important Soil Nutrient or Water Quality Challenge?
• Business Plan Vetting
• Effective Farm Mentorships: Training the Trainer
• On-Farm Solar Panel Installation and Financing
• High Tunnel Vegetable Production
• Practical Farmers of Iowa in 2046
• Modifying Cultivators for Better Weed Control
• Profitable and Practical Grass-Based Dairy Farming
• Farm Energy Planning
• We Learn More by Accident Than We Do on Purpose
• Practical Tips for On-Farm Pollinator Habitat
• Rolling Cover Crops with Modified Equipment
• The 10-Year Journey
• Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture System
• Five Generations of Farm Transfer
• Farm Mechanization Efficiencies
• Top 10 Cover Crop Species for Iowa – 2016 Edition
• Introduction to Government Programs for Farmers

SARE Farmers Forum Topics:
• Chickens and Trap Crops: An Integration of Sustainable Approaches to Insect Pest Control in Vegetable Production
• Management of the Spotted Wing Drosophila Using High Tunnels
• Developing Commercial Elderberry Production in Minnesota
• Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Terraced Ground
• Adapting Cover Crops to Northern Climate Conventional Cropping Systems
• Finishing Time and Weights of Grass-Fed Beef Animals
• Comparison of Annual Forages for Grazing Lambs on Previously Cropped Ground

Meet the Following Experts for a Q&A:
• Robin and Kelly Griffeth
• Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell
• Janet McNally
• Sarah Foltz Jordan
• Mark Gleason and Donald Lewis
• PFI Sustainable Agriculture Award Winner (TBD)
• Dave Baker
• John Kempf
• Linda Naeve (SARE Farmers Forum)
Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 annual conference is supported by several major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Grain Millers; Iowa Learning Farms; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy and Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Natural Soy Products; Natural Way Feeds; Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area; Sunrise Sheds; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and WeedGuard Plus.


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


Sally Worley | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

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