Field Days Look at Opportunities for Next Generation in Farming

Practical Farmers of Iowa field days feature a July 12 "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" tour and July 16 visit to grass-fed beef operation.

Practical Farmers of Iowa has two upcoming field days: one on July 12 and one July 16. The July 12 event is a "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" tour in Siouxland in northwest Iowa. The July 16 field day features raising grass-fed beef at Herman's Heartland Farm in New Albin in northeast Iowa. The PFI field days focus on opportunities for the next generation in farming.

You can visit members of the newest up and coming "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign Saturday, July 12, from noon to 6:00 p.m. in Sioux City and surrounding areas. Find out who is growing deliciously fresh food in the area, and learn how to purchase from these sustainable farmers.

The tour will begin at noon with lunch at the Firehouse Market. Tour participants will also visit the Floyd Boulevard Market and One Stop Meat Shop. At 2:30 p.m. head to C-Brown Gardens near Merrill. Clint Brown, a junior in high school, offers pesticide-free, all-natural products from his vegetable operation. He also has three high tunnels to extend the season. You can sample preserves and jellies that Clint's mom, Audry, has made from his products.

At 3:30 p.m., visit Muth Farms outside of Ireton. The Muth family raises organic vegetables, free-range hogs and run the One Stop Meat Shop connected to the Floyd Boulevard Market. This farm is truly diversified, as son Aaron raises chickens, ducks and goats.

At 5:00 p.m., stop at the Cornucopia near Sioux Center. John and Janna Wesselius run a small Community Supported Agriculture program on their acreage. In a CSA, the customer purchases a share at the beginning of the season and receives regular distributions of the farmer's product throughout the growing season. John and Janna also raise pigs and chickens on pasture.

Directions to Firehouse Market, 1211 5th St, Sioux City, IA 51101: From I-29 take Exit 147A for Floyd Blvd. toward Historic 4th St. Turn right at Floyd Blvd/Wall St. Continue to follow Floyd Blvd. Turn left at 5th St. to Fiona's Firehouse Bistro.

Father and Son Discuss Grass-Finishing Beef

Practical Farmers of Iowa will be hosting a field day at Herman's Heartland Farm in New Albin, Iowa on Wednesday, July 16. The event begins at 1:00 p.m. and will include discussion on the following topics: landscape grazing on public lands using beef cow/calf pairs, holistic management, MOB grazing, carbon sequestration and generational family succession planning.

Father and son, Eugene, and Ryan Herman farm in partnership on the NE Iowa and SE Minnesota border. Eugene and Ryan are the 5th and 6th generation of farmers on their land. In 2004 they began experimenting with raising grass-fed beef. In 2005 and 2006 they seeded the remaining crop ground to a mix of perennial grasses and legumes.

They have implemented a planned grazing system. The cow herd currently does a "landscape graze" for three months in the summer on land owned by the Iowa DNR. The Hermans are managing the land for wildlife promotion as well as increasing the diversity of grasses and controlling the encroachment of willow thickets. In 2007 their land became certified organic.

Directions to Herman's Heartland Farm: Wabasha Dr., New Albin, IA. From Lansing, IA: take Great River Road, (IA–26) north 8 miles. Go over the Upper Iowa River bridge and take an immediate right onto Wabasha Dr. for ¼ mile. From New Albin, IA: take Great River Road, (IA–26) south / southwest 2 miles. You will cross one bridge and just before the 2nd bridge (Upper Iowa River) you will take a left onto Wabasha Dr. for ¼ mile.

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 information, call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

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