Over the past few years, more and more Corn Belt farmers have been growing small grains again, and even more want to find ways to grow them on their farm. Members of Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), a farmer-led organization based in Ames, have been trying to help with that process. And that’s why, over the next few months, you will be able to catch a new episode of “Rotationally Raised” – PFI’s new video series – each week on YouTube.
Starting with the first episode “Small Grains: A Revival” – you can learn more about small grains, from the benefits of adding diversity to your crop rotations to growing, harvesting and marketing the crops.
Like everything else PFI does, this series is farmer-led. The videos are a result of extensive interviews with PFI farmers – young and old, organic and conventional, and from every corner of the state of Iowa. Also included throughout the series are conversations with scientists at Iowa State University who focus their careers on diversified rotations and small grains research.
There are, however, two big barriers to adding a third crop like small grains to corn and soybean rotations: markets and knowledge about growing the crops. PFI members have hosted field days, led workshops and conference sessions, and presented at farminars.
The PFI staff has been working with Sustainable Food Lab, an association of food and beverage retailers, to work with companies up and down the feed, food and beverage supply chains to come up with creative ways to grow small grains markets in the state. If you want to learn more about this initiative to get more small grains in the Corn Belt or you’re interested in taking part in a pilot project by growing small grains for the first time on your farm, contact Sarah Carlson at [email protected]. To learn more about small grains in Iowa, visit practicalfarmers.org/small-grains/.
Editor’s Note: Ohde is the research and media coordinator for Practical Farmers of Iowa in Ames.