Practical Farmers announces farminar series
AMES — Practical Farmers of Iowa free interactive webinars, called farminars, will be presented live from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday through Feb. 26, plus a special lunchtime farminar is set from noon to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 24. The series is open to anyone, and any computer with an Internet connection may be used to participate.
To participate, go to www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar. All archived farminars and audio podcasts of past farminars are available.
Farminars are led by farmers from around the world. Many of the presentations are in a “fish-bowl” format, where attendees listen as an experienced farmer answers a beginning farmer’s questions.
The farminars in January will be:
• Tuesday — “Yeomans Plow and Keyline Design,” with Jeremy Peake and Darren Doherty. Get to know the Yeomans Plow and Keyline Design and learn how subsoil plowing can improve farm productivity, water holding capacity and reduce compaction. Jeremy and Jodi Peake of Waukon manage a grass-based herd of 35 dairy cows. While they have farmed for more than 11 years, they have only recently begun experimenting with the Yeomans Plow. Doherty is a fifth-generation farmer from Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. He also works as a farm planner, developer and educator specializing in drought-proofing, soil management and practical farm layout design. He has experience using Yeomans Plow and Keyline Design concepts on his farm and as a consultant to farmers in more than 40 countries.
• Jan. 15 – “Selecting Corn Hybrids and Soybean Varieties,” with Eric Franzenburg, Laura Krouse and Maury Johnson. Gain a diverse view of the nuts and bolts of genetic selection and decision-making for corn and soybean seeds. Farmers and a seed production expert will cover genetically-modified, non-GMO, open-pollinated and organic seeds. Franzenburg of Van Horne farms several hundred acres of conventional corn and soybeans. He will discuss his process of selecting GMO corn hybrids and soybean varieties. Krouse of Mount Vernon manages about 40 cropland acres in a four-year rotation of corn, oats/hay, hay and vegetable garden. She plants an open-pollinated corn variety on her Abbe Hills Farm since 1903. Johnson currently works for Blue River Hybrids in Kelly, which specializes in non-GMO and organic seed choices. He will add almost 30 years experience in the seed business focused on seed production to the discussion.
• Jan. 22 – “Cover Crop Basics for Corn and Soybeans,” with Steve McGrew and Earl Hafner. McGrew farms corn and soybeans with his brothers near Emerson. Using cover crops for many years on no-till conventional farmland in gently rolling hills, he has seen vast improvements in soil conservation effects. Hafner organically farms about 2,000 acres near Panora with his son Jeff. They use cover crops extensively in their operation. They use tillage to kill the cover crops in the spring and also grow small grains in organic rotation.
• Jan. 24, noon to 1:30 p.m. – “Specialty Crop Insurance: One Farmer’s Experience and Vision,” with Richard deWilde. Considered insuring fresh produce? Hear a farmer’s take on what is available as well as his vision for a more suitable insurance program for fruit and vegetable farms. deWilde of Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, Wis., has been growing organic vegetables since 1973. He will explain his experience with Farm Service Agency’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and will provide an overview of NAP requirements and potential returns if there is a crop loss.
• Jan. 29 – “Explore the Profit Potential of High Tunnels,” with Adam Montri of Ten Hens Farm near Bath, Mich. He raises crops year-round in a high tunnel. He also serves as the hoophouse outreach specialist for Michigan State University serving high tunnel growers across Michigan.
Call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.