For Susan Frye, managing pesticide drift is all about taking proactive steps to prevent it in the first place. Susan raises organic vegetables, fruit, herbs and cut flowers for a Community Supported Agriculture business, as well as organic corn, soybeans and clover, on Small Frye Farm, the organic portion of Frye Farms, her family's Century Farm in Scott County in eastern Iowa.
"I grew up with my neighbors and have a good relationship with them, and I know they won't hit me on a windy day from their tractors," Susan says. "I've also got a great buffer – but I'm managing drift proactively, because anyone who raises organic crops knows pesticide drift is an issue. My biggest concern is with aerial sprayers."
You can learn about the steps Susan is taking to help reduce the risk of a drift episode, as well as the changes that have occurred on her family's Century Farm since it was first established in 1881, at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day she is hosting on Sunday, July 27, from 3:30-6:30 p.m., near Maysville. The event – "Monitoring Pesticide Drift on a Century Farm" – is free to attend, open to the public and will include a light supper after the program. The farm is located at 11150 New Liberty Rd., about 2 miles east of Maysville. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please reply to Lauren Zastrow at [email protected] or (515) 232-5661 by Thursday, July 24.
Uses extensive system of buffers and "Drift Catcher"
Attendees will hear how Susan uses extensive buffers and Drift Catcher, a citizen-science device created by the Pesticide Action Network that samples the air for pesticides.
The field day covers many topics in addition to drift: Participants will get to tour the historic farm and learn about the history behind Small Frye Farm CSA, as well as what's involved with managing the CSA and raising vegetables, culinary herbs and cut flowers. In addition, attendees will hear from farmer Scott Rochau, Susan's cousin. Scott farms conventionally, but also rents land from Susan and will speak about growing organic clover, soybeans and corn for her.
"I'm now growing things that my parents and grandparents did, and I'm trying to restore the fruit orchard, grape arbor and berry patches," Susan says. "We used to have all those things, and I want to grow that diversity of food on the place because I know farmland in this area is capable of producing an incredible array of crops."
Organic fields exist with conventional farming nearby
Small Frye Farm comprises the organic portion of Frye Farms. The 5-acre homestead has been organic since 1994, and 9 additional acres were certified organic in 2013 with 41 more acres set aside as chemical-free. In 2009, Susan established the Small Frye Farm CSA, which provides subscribers in Scott and Johnson counties with vegetables, fruit, herbs and cut flowers. Small Frye farm has more than 200 trees, include 75 black walnuts, and countless perennial flowers, bushes, native grasses, fruits and herbs. Susan is continually planting more apple, peach, cherry and apricot trees; currant, blueberry and raspberry bushes; and she recently added pecan and hickory trees. Learn more about the farm at www.smallfryefarm.com.
Directions: The farm is located approximately 3 miles northwest of Farm and Fleet on Iowa Route 130 (11150 New Liberty Road). Eastbound on I-80: Take Exit 284 for Walcott; turn north onto County Road Y40 / 60th Avenue / N Plainview Road. In 3.7 miles, turn east onto IA-130 E (New Liberty Road); the farm is in 6 miles. Westbound on I-80: Take Exit 292 for IA-130 W/Northwest Blvd toward Maysville. Turn right onto IA-130 W (Northwest Blvd), which changes to New Liberty Road; the farm is 4 miles from the I-80 exit.
Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2014 field day season features 35 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available on PFI's website or contact PFI at (515) 232-5661 to get a printed copy.
Pasture improvement field day in Decatur County
In other news, Iowa Learning Farms will host a field day near Leon in southern Iowa from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31. The field day will focus on pasture improvement and includes a pasture walk at Triple C Farms.
Todd Coffelt along with his brothers, Chris and Paul, co-own Triple C Farms. They raise cattle on the family farm in Decatur County. In 2010, they implemented a paddock and rotational grazing system to improve grass pasture productivity. Todd will lead field day attendees on their pastureland and highlight practices of their NRCS EQIP contract, now in its third year. The cost-share contract is helping Triple C Farms increase water resources and improve grass management in their cow-calf operation. Also speaking at the field day is Joe Sellers, Iowa State University Extension beef Specialist.
The field day includes a complimentary evening meal prepared by the Decatur County Cattlemen. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. The field day site is located two miles west of Leon, on the north side of Highway 2, near the intersection of Highway 2 and County Road J-34 (212th Ave.). To RSVP for the event, contact Iowa Learning Farms, 515-294-8912 or email: [email protected] by July 28. For more information visit the ILF website.