Consider this scenario: Your farm is subjected to chemical drift from a neighbor's pesticide application. What steps do you follow once this happens? Tune-in to the next Practical Farmers of Iowa webinar on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. and learn how an organic vegetable and livestock farm in northeast Iowa has responded (and continues responding) to pesticide drift.
Rob and Tammy Faux formed the Genuine Faux Farm, located near Tripoli, Iowa, in 2004. Their farm business focuses on a 120-member produce CSA and includes poultry, starter plants and fruit production. A recent misapplication of pesticides for a neighboring farm has left the Faux farm dealing with the aftermath on their certified organic vegetable operation. After several reports to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and insurance claims, they are now pursuing litigation.
PFI refers to its webinars as "farminars." You don't have to be a PFI member to view PFI farminars which are broadcast over the Internet. Just tune-in on your computer. PFI is holding a series of farminars this winter on various topics. Learn more here
Meet the new Practical Farmers of Iowa executive committee
In other PFI news, it was announced Feb. 21 that the Practical Farmers of Iowa board of directors has appointed a new roster of farmers and non-farmers to serve on the board's executive committee. Members who serve on this committee – which includes the positions of board president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer – play a key role in the organization by helping to steer the direction of Practical Farmers programming and funding.
The new committee members represent different regions of Iowa, and include: Dan Wilson (president), a farmer from Paullina; Mark Peterson (vice-president), a farmer from Stanton; Melissa Dunham (secretary), who farms near Grinnell; and Gail Hickenbottom (treasurer), a non-farmer member from West Des Moines.
These individuals are among the hundreds of PFI members who serve in leadership roles within the organization. In 2013, more than 340 members served in a leadership capacity, reflecting the degree to which PFI members actively engage on behalf of Practical Farmers' mission. Leadership roles range from hosting field days or events, volunteering or serving on the board to participating in on-farm research, serving on one of several PFI committees or sharing knowledge or expertise with the public.
These PFI members are among more than 340 active PFI leaders
"I've been a member of PFI since 2008, and I've learned a great deal through PFI events and from relationships built because of the diverse Practical Farmers network," Melissa says. "I'm humbled to have the opportunity to serve on the executive committee. The opportunity allows me to spend more time and energy with people who care about the Iowa landscape and farmers – it doesn't get much better than that."
"Through the years I have belonged to many different organizations, but none as vibrant as Practical Farmers of Iowa," Mark says. "So when I was asked to join the board of directors, I readily agreed. What a wonderful experience it has been so far. We are blessed with a great staff and membership to work with. I am honored to be a small part of such a fantastic organization of folks that have served before me."
Dan Wilson farms with his family at Seven W Farm, near Paullina in northwest Iowa, raising grass-fed lamb, free-range and antibiotic-free pork, organic grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and eggs, raw honey and organic row crops.
Mark Peterson grows row crops on about 300 acres near Stanton in southwest Iowa, integrating cover crops to help safeguard soil and water health.
Melissa Dunham operates Grinnell Heritage Farm with her husband, Andy, producing USDA-certified organic vegetables, flowers and herbs. The Dunhams sell more than 40 varieties of produce at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Market, Iowa City Saturday Market and to local restaurants, and manage a 250-share Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business that serves Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Grinnell, Des Moines and Ames.
Gail Hickenbottom is a non-farmer from West Des Moines with interest in and knowledge about Iowa agriculture who has been a long-time supporter of PFI.