Practical Farmers continue farminars
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.
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 February will be:
• Today – “Considerations for Year-Round Employment for Vegetable Farms.” Learn practical ways to build a farm’s capacity to provide work and pay for employees all year from Pete Johnson and Melissa Dunham. Johnson, of Craftsbury, Vt., started Pete’s Greens in 1995 and now manages a diversified vegetable farm with marketing and production systems that keep more than 12 full-time employees busy all year. Dunham, of Grinnell Heritage Farm near Grinnell, grows about 20 acres of fresh vegetables. She and her husband Andrew currently hire employees from late February through November, and they aspire to offer full-time, year-round employment in the future.
• Feb. 12 – “Feed Alternatives to Corn and Soybeans.” Find out how to add alternate grains to livestock corn and soybean meal ration to cut costs from Cindy McCollough and Drew Lietz. McCollough, of Bluestem Enterprises in Webster City, owns a specialty and organic grains feed mill that works with farmers and their livestock. Lietz, a beginning rowcrop and livestock farmer near Alta, will offer questions from his perspective feeding swine raised for Niman Ranch. He also will ask about partially replacing soybean meal with canola meal in his ration.
• Feb. 19 – “Selecting the Right Genetics for a Grass-based System.” Three graziers share their path to find animals that work on grass. Hear what traits to select for a beef cowherd and choose superior genetics for finishing on grass. Presenters will be: Bruce Carney and his wife Connie of Carney Family Farms in Maxwell, who have a beef cowherd with 125 cow-calf pairs and a bull from Pharo Cattle Company; Jacob Myers and his wife Sarah, who have a beef cowherd with 20 cow-calf pairs on 140 acres of rented pasture northeast of Maxwell and are working to improve genetics with artificial insemination using Angus bulls dating as far back as the 1960s; and Jake Wheeler and his wife Amber, who have a 25-head black Angus cowherd on 160 acres of rugged pasture they own near Monroe.
• Feb. 26 – “Vegetable Irrigation Basics for Beginning Farmers.” Get the basics to build a system to more efficiently water vegetable crops in the field this summer. Chris Blanchard owns Rock Spring Farm near Decorah and provides education and outreach about systems and tools for farmers to succeed in agriculture, business and life through Flying Rutabaga Works. Topics to be addressed include: source considerations, pumps, flow rates, particulate filters, supply pipe, application methods, as well as tips and tricks and resources for more information.