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Member Spotlight — Jill Beebout, of Chariton

Practical Farmers’ 2017 main field day season is almost upon us! Our first event will take place on Sunday, May 21, at Blue Gate Farm, operated by Jill Beebout and Sean Skeehan.

Over the coming weeks, to help highlight some of the many farmer-led learning opportunities this growing season — and the farmers hosting them — we’ll be spotlighting many of the PFI farmers who are graciously giving their time to share their knowledge at these events.

Watch practicalfarmers.org and “Practical News,” our weekly email newsletter, for details and updates!

Jill Beebout

Jill Beebout
Blue Gate Farm
Member since 2004
Chariton, IA

Jill Beebout farms at Blue Gate Farm with her husband, Sean Skeehan. They steward 40 acres of family land in southern Marion County, which has been in the Beebout family for generations, where they raise Certified Naturally Grown produce, laying hens, honey bees, hay and alpacas.

Their marketing is done primarily through their CSA and at farmers markets, including the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market.

Jill also makes homemade preserves from the produce she and Sean grow, and dyes and spins yarn from fibers sourced from their own alpacas as well as other wool sources.

Jill and Sean’s vision is to create an economically and ecologically self-sustaining homestead that provides an ongoing connection to the Beebout land for their family, guests and themselves.

Fundamental to this vision are naturally based production methods including composting; rotational planting and grazing methods; integrated pest management; rainwater collection; prairie restoration; responsible timber and wetland management; limited dependence on petroleum products and public utilities; and no synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers.

Jill has served as a leader for Practical Farmers in many capacities over the years, from serving on our board of directors and various committees; to conducting numerous on-farm research projects through PFI’s Cooperators’ Program (click the link and search for “Beebout”); to speaking at workshops, conference sessions, on farminars and at field days.

Upcoming field day

She will host a field day this month – and help launch Practical Farmers’ 2017 main field day season – on Sunday, May 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. Jeff Lauber, a nationally known antique implement expert who lives near Columbus Junction, will also speak at the field day, and demonstrate some of the many models and items in his collection.

The event, “Two-Wheel Tractors: Old Technology, New Inspiration,” is free and open to all, and will explore the benefits and affordability of these tools – which were once common sights on small farms across the U.S. – in vegetable production. Click here for full details.

You can also learn more about Jill, her farm and her discovery of this vintage farm technology in an interview with Nick Ohde for Practical Farmers’ new podcast series, “On-Farm,” which debuts this week.