Field day at Petersen Family Farm will explore integrating the next generation – June 30, near Knoxville

For Release: June 21, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — For Knoxville-area farmers James and Julie Petersen, helping their children become established on the family farm is a high priority. It’s also the natural thing to do, James says.

“We told all our children that they had to go college, but if they wanted to come back to farm after they got out, we’d do everything we could to help them,” James explains. “The arrangement is we pay for expenses – things like feed, pasture rent, veterinary expenses, trucking, insurance – and they pay for their livestock.

“When I was growing up, I had that kind of support from my parents, and we felt that if our children wanted to be out here working with us, we wanted to find a way to help them.”

James and Julie invite farmers and the public to learn how their family has worked together to bring the next generation onto the farm at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting on Thursday, June 30, from 2-5 p.m., near Knoxville. The event – “Working Together to Keep Children on the Farm” – is free to attend and will take place at 575 Nevada St., about 9 miles west of Knoxville. A meal will be served after the program. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, or (515) 232-5661, by Monday, June 27.
The field day is sponsored by Blue River Hybrids Organic Seed, Grain Millers, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), and Organic Crop Improvement Association International.

Petersen Family Farm currently includes the Petersens’ three sons, who help with the diverse operation that includes sheep and cattle, along with a mix of organic, conventional and non-GMO row crops. Attendees will learn how the Petersens have worked to build their diverse crop and livestock operation that allows all three sons – and possibly a daughter in the future – to continue working on the farm.

Topics will explore how the Petersen family has worked with Charlotte Shivvers and Martha Skillman to ensure sustainable management of the Shivvers sisters’ land that the Petersens rent; cattle and sheep production – including one son’s sheep dairy enterprise; integrating crops and livestock; and organic, conventional and non-GMO row crops. Attendees will also hear how the Shivvers sisters, who are past winners of the PFI Farmland Owner Award, have sold farmland to the Petersens to help the Petersens bring another generation back to farm. In addition, Kathleen Delate, with the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University, will speak about research on organic row crop production.

From the east on IA Hwy 92 at Knoxville: Drive west on IA Hwy 92 for 6.5 miles. Turn left onto Lisbon Street / County Road G48 and travel for 0.75 mile. Turn left onto 60th Avenue and drive for 1.8 miles; then turn right onto Nevada Street. The farm will be on the right side of the road in 0.3 mile. From the west on IA Hwy 92 at Indianola: Travel 16.8 miles east on IA Hwy 92; turn right onto County Road S45 and travel for 2 miles. Turn left onto McKimber Street, right on 60th Avenue, and right on Nevada Street and drive for 1.2 miles; the farm will be on the left side of the road. Note: Do not use Mapquest directions, as they are not accurate.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 field day season features 25 events around Iowa. All field days feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours. Details are in Practical Farmers’ “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at, or for free in print. To request a guide by mail, call the PFI office at (515) 232-5661.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.


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


James and Julie Petersen | (641) 891-7490 |

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