Practical Farmers Schedule Field Days in Iowa

PFI has meetings on farms in August to explore a number of interesting cropping, livestock and conservation practices.

Published on: Aug 12, 2008

Practical Farmers of Iowa has a number of field days scheduled this summer. Following are a few that are upcoming across the state. PFI is a nonprofit sustainable agriculture group dedicated to farming that is profitable, environmentally sound, and healthy for consumers and communities. Founded in 1985, PFI has over 700 farmer and nonfarmer members throughout Iowa. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.  

August 15 at Creston

Practical Farmers of Iowa will be hosting a field day at Ron and Dottie Dunphy's farm near Creston on August 15 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Discussion and demonstrations include an experimental essential oil treatment for soybeans and managing grazing for wildlife and biodiversity. Plus, Ryan Harr, wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, and Josh Rush, private lands wildlife specialist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, will talk about improving quail and songbird populations in Southern Iowa while improving grazing lands.

The Dunphy's family farm partnership includes 950 acres of crops and 450 acres of pasture. They finish hogs in confinement and maintain a cow-calf herd that finish in a local feedlot white they retain ownership. Their farm is enrolled in USDA's Tier III CSP (Conservation Security Program), and they have some land that's been enrolled in grassland reserve for 30 years.

Directions to the farm: 1956 Redwood Ave., Afton, Iowa*—From Interstate 35, take Exit 33, US-34 west for 18 miles. Go left (south) on Redwood Ave. for .9 miles. From Afton, take US-34 east for 3 miles. Turn right (south) on Redwood Ave. for .9 miles. *This is not the Dunphy home farm, which is the address listed in the Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day Guide.

August 19 at Winterset

Ken Henrichsen is hosting a PFI field day on his farm at Winterset on Tuesday, August 19, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Topics include marketing grass-fed beef, sorghum-sudangrass for finishing cattle, providing bird habitat on the farm, fencing for intensive grazing rotation, and genetics for grass finishing. In addition to a grass-fed beef operation, participants will be able to view Henrichsen's ornamental grass garden and windbreaks. On display will be a no-till drill used to plant pasture, a custom baleage machine and a portable cattle scale.

Retired veterinarian Ken Henrichsen grass-finishes 100 animals on 80 acres of improved pasture. He raises another 100 bred heifers on 160 acres of timber/pasture land. Ken direct markets his products, sells to Tallgrass Prairie Producers' Cooperative, and wants to sell through the Iowa Food Cooperative once it is active. Ken switched from a grain-fed to grass-finished operation two years ago. "I have a superior product, higher in healthy Omega-3s and CLAs, and there is a strong market demand for local, antibiotic and hormone-free grass-fed beef. Raising grass-fed also makes senses from an economic standpoint, with corn prices being so high," says Henrichsen.

Directions to the Henrichsen Farm: 2136 Norwood Ave., Winterset—From I-35, take Exit 56, IA-92 (Bevington) west for 11 miles. Turn left onto Norwood Ave.

August 21 at Bloomfield

Tim Maibach will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on his farm near Bloomfield on Thursday, August 21, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Discussion will include grazing lands that have come out of the CRP (Conservation Reserve Program), advantages of grazing dairy cattle, and marketing to a co-op.

Tim Maibach and family, including sons Daniel and Samuel, run an organic grazing dairy near Bloomfield. Tim used the "CRP to Grazing" program to help prepare fields for rotational grazing after his CRP contract expired. The program included cost share to add a water system, fencing and forage interseeding. The Maibachs market their products to Organic Valley Family of Farms.

Directions: 13854 315th St, Bloomfield. Turn west on 305th St. off Hwy 63 (1.5 miles north of Missouri line or 8.5 miles south of Hwy 2); continue west 1 mile, turn south on Fawn Ave. for .5 miles, turn west onto 310th St. for 1 mile, south on Ebony Ave. for .25 miles, turn west on 315th St. Farm is on north side of road.

August 22 at Jefferson

Jerry Peckumn will host a PFI Field Day August 22 from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Discussions will include a lunchtime presentation from Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and topics such as: Conservation Security/Stewardship Program, nitrogen and phosphorous management strategies in corn, integrating cover crops in a corn-on-corn cropping system, using native prairie plantings for hay production, soil quality and ecosystem difference in native plantings vs. row crops, wood chips on tile lines to reduce pollution (Iowa Soybean Association), how to organize a watershed association with representatives from the Raccoon River Watershed. "The quality of the water in our rivers can be impacted by many different factors, including sewage, fertilizer run-off, sediment from rapid removal of rainfall, etc.," says Peckumn.

Lunch, including Steve Reinert's grass fed beef and locally sourced produce from the Carroll Community Co-op, will be prepared by Jefferson's Uptown Grill. Lunch and other local foods are provided free of charge. RSVP to Sarah Carlson at 515-232-5661 or sarah@practicalfarmers.org by August 18 for directions.

Jerry Peckumn's farm is located in the Raccoon River watershed, one of two sources of water for Des Moines. He grows corn and soybeans on his farm and also has several areas in perennial native species and forage species. Jerry grazes cattle and cuts hay on part of the farm and leaves the rest for wildlife.