Practical Farmers of Iowa will host its sixth annual "Next Generation Retreat" on February 21 and 22 at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. All beginning farmers are welcome to attend, regardless of age, farm enterprise, location or size.
The Next Generation Retreat is designed to bring beginning farmers together to build a peer support group as well as discuss opportunities and challenges facing beginning farmers in Iowa. This year's event will feature business and strategic coaching with experienced farmers and business leaders, including "better know a budget," an exercise aimed at digging into the realities of budgets, monthly expenses and cash flow on the farm. Additionally, attendees will have the chance to discuss diverse topics such as crop selection, livestock breeds, small grains and cover crop production, and diverse product marketing as well as share plans and experiences in developing infrastructure for new farm enterprises.
Deadline to register for this 2-day event is February 14
The cost of registration is $15 for PFI members and $40 for non-members. Lodging is available three miles north of campus at the Riverview Conference Center, 439 N Division St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613. Cost for lodging is an additional $10 per person for a shared room with single beds and shared bathrooms. Guests must provide their own bedding, linens and pillows. Commuters are also welcome to attend the day sessions without staying overnight. Register online at the PFI website or contact Luke Gran by email [email protected] or call (515) 232-5661. Deadline to register is February 14.
Late afternoon snacks are provided Friday and breakfast and lunch are provided Saturday and included in the cost of registration. Friday evening meal will be on your own at nearby restaurants.
Strategic coaching sessions are led by a successful entrepreneur
Friday's schedule includes two strategic coaching sessions led by a successful entrepreneur paired with a beginning farmer. On Friday evening, members of The Farming Institute—Dick Schwab, Susan Jutz and Kate Edwards—will discuss principles for successful farm business collaborations. Opportunities for networking are scheduled throughout the event. On Friday only, Andy Hunziker, loan officer from the Iowa Farm Service Agency will be available for private financial consultations.
Saturday's schedule includes small group discussions focused by farm enterprise; horticulture, field crops and livestock. A cashflow and budget session follows with an in-depth look at itemized expenses for graziers, hog production, an apple orchard, a diversified crop and livestock operation and a Community Supported Agriculture enterprise. The final session of the course will tie it all together, featuring experienced farmers talking about real farm life budgets.
The list of presenters includes (in alphabetical order):
Tom Frantzen—New Hampton
John & Sarah Gilbert—Iowa Falls
Marcus & Emma Johnson— Central City
Wendy Johnson—Charles City
Luke & Linsey Schuldt—Tripoli
Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in the network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit the PFI website.