Member Priority: Horticulture
Beginning livestock farmers Caleb and Jacqueline Shinn have struggled to find affordable insurance coverage for their farm business. The Shinns will share details about their farm and the process they’ve gone through as they evaluate their risk-management options. Rodney Sebastian, with USDA Risk Management Agency, will discuss current insurance programs and risk assessment tools the Shinns could consider.
February 27, 2018
Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and insects are critical to crop production and play a crucial role in our nation’s food supply. This farminar will provide a guide to restoring native prairie by offering recommendations for research & planning, site preparation, planting, and management. This information is applicable if you’re restoring many acres or considering a backyard project. Jessi and Dennis from Shooting Star Native Seeds will talk about how to choose a seed mix, how to eliminate weeds before you plant, what equipment is needed, and the management practices needed for continued growth of your pollinator habitat.
February 13, 2018
Beginning farmers face a whole range of barriers to overcome when starting a successful farm business. Accessing startup capital and land, building a market, finding a balance between farm work and family life, and overcoming production challenges are among the many issues beginners have to navigate. Beginning vegetable farmer Jenny Quiner of Dogpatch Urban Gardens, and beginning livestock farmers Bill and Stacey Borrenpohl will discuss the challenges they’ve faced as well as their strategies for overcoming them.
January 30, 2018
At Blue Sky Flower Farm near Elko-New Market, MN, Jon and Rachael Ackerman specialize in growing standard and unique varieties of woody ornamental plants. The Ackerman’s launched their farm in 2010 and grow approximately 2 acres of cut flowers and woodies for wholesale to local garden centers, landscape companies, florists & at the Twin Cities Flower Exchange (a local, wholesale flower market). Hear tips and techniques from Rachael on how to add woodies to your farm including information on propagation, varieties, growing, challenges, investment, social media and more.
January 16, 2018
After completing two years of cucumber enterprise budgets, Ann Franzenburg and Emma Johnson looked at their farms and decided: “Let’s do cherry tomatoes.” For this enterprise budget, both farmers did a careful accounting of the revenue, costs, and labor for their 2017 cherry tomato crops. The analysis of their data, and their comments on varieties, […]
December 6, 2017
Six farmers compared three or four
lettuce varieties, Coastal Star, Hampton,
Magenta, and Muir, to determine
which produces better during summer
months (harvest July – Sept.) in Iowa.
• Magenta had the highest yields on
three of the six farms, and was much
more heat tolerant than Coastal Star.
• Coastal Star produced sizeable heads –
particularly in earlier successions – but
tended to bolt quickly.
• Farmers found they could grow quality
summer head lettuce using these
varieties, though specific preferences
differed by farm.
As farmers wrap up their season and plan for next, PFI’s farmer-cooperators have an additional responsibility: submit the data they collected from this year’s research trials and plan next year’s projects. The first week in December marks the annual two-day Cooperators’ Meeting where farmer members meet to discuss these research results with each other and […]
Carmen Black and Mark Quee raise sheep on their diversified vegetable farms. They were curious if grazing a cover crop prior to a fall crop, rather than simply terminating the cover crop by mowing and tillage, would have an impact on the yield of the next crop. For this trial each farmer measured the yield […]
• This project compares yields of
fall brassica crops following a
spring cover crop of oats and
peas. In treatment plots spring
cover was grazed by sheep; control
plots were un-grazed.
• There were no statistical differences
in brassica yield by treatment (grazed vs. un-grazed
• Though Black had more than 3
tons DM/ac of aboveground biomass,
the sheep trampled more
than they foraged because the
oats were too fibrous.
• Black is interested in grazing
more spring-seeded cover crops
based on trial results; Quee plans
to stay with his current system of
grazing in fallow years and in the
early spring and late fall.
December 5, 2017
Two farmers provided enterprise
budgets for cherry tomato production
• Cherry tomatoes were grown in a
heated greenhouse (Ann Franzenburg),
and an unheated high tunnel (Emma
• Revenue and expenses, including a
breakdown of labor, was reported by
• Labor was the largest expense for both
Franzenburg and Johnson, accounting
for 62% and 68% of their total
• Harvesting and packing was the most
time-consuming task on both farms,
accounting for 74% of labor-hours at
Franzenburg and 62% of labor-hours
• Both farms had profitable cherry
tomato crops, netting $1.31/lb at Franzenburg
and $1.54/lb at Johnson.