Have you considered extending your crop rotation, adding a new enterprise or sampling soil and getting it tested to make better fertilizer and crop nutrient management practices? Tune in to Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2014 fall farminar series to learn about these topics, and more. This free webinar series is offered each autumn to help farmers learn about business and production issues that matter to them from the convenience of their homes. You do not have to be a member of PFI to tune-in.
Tune-in each Tuesday: The interactive webinars – called farminars – occur each Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. CST, starting Nov. 11 through Dec. 23, are open to everyone and allow participants to ask questions of presenters in real-time. Any computer with an Internet connection may be used to participate. Farminars are led by farmers, and many are presented in a "fish-bowl" format where attendees listen as a farmer or business expert answers a beginning farmer's questions.
To participate: Go to practicalfarmers.org/farminar, click the link to connect and sign in as "Guest." Pre-registration is not required, but those who register will receive reminder emails one week and one day in advance. All upcoming farminars, as well as free podcasts of past farminars, are also available at this link.
First session will cover "Business Planning, With Finances In Mind"
Farminar topics this season will cover business planning; growing and marketing cut flowers; extending corn-soybean rotations; starting a dairy farm; hosting bees on your land; working with the Haney and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) soil tests; and direct-marketing grain-finished beef.
An additional farminar schedule for the Practical Farmers' winter farminar series that takes place from January through March will be released in December.
First farminar of fall season will be November 11. "Business-Planning with Finances in Mind" will focus on the financial sections of a business plan, and should be of interest to beginning farmers working on their first business plans, as well as experienced farmers who want to improve theirs or get a fresh perspective. Janna Feldman, who runs a sheep and goat dairy near Honey Creek, will share examples from her worksheets and business plan. Jim Patton, a retired banker and Iowa State University Extension director, will share advice on writing a financial plan.
Having a financial plan and updating it each year is a roadmap
Where are you going with your farming operation? Where do you want to go with it? "The background and research is important, but when you have a business plan with a strong financial section, it really provides clear direction," Janna says. "This is our first year of operation, so at the end of the year our financial plan will give us a much better of how close we how close were to our target and what do we need to do differently. It's like a roadmap."
For information about the 2014 PFI Fall Farminar line-up of topics each week, visit www.practicalfarmers.org. Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2014 fall farminars are made possible with funding from Cedar Tree Foundation, Ceres Trust, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service, McKnight Foundation and Walton Family Foundation.
Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers that seeks to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Farmers in PFI's network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit the PFI website.