Premier Sustainable Ag Event In Iowa

Premier Sustainable Ag Event In Iowa

Interested in sustainable agriculture? Plan to attend Practical Farmers of Iowa annual conference Jan. 13-14 in Ames--25 speakers will address a wide range of interesting topics.

Practical Farmers of Iowa holds the premier sustainable agriculture event in Iowa each year. PFI's 2012 annual conference, with the theme "Made from Scratch," is just around the corner. It will be held this coming weekend, January 13-14, at the Iowa State University Center's Scheman Building in Ames. More than 25 speakers are featured on the agenda, some from as far away as Denmark, and they will be covering a myriad of fascinating topics.

Farmers and food lovers who haven't yet had a chance to register online or over the phone can still register at the door on January 13-14. The 2012 conference promises to "cook up" a blend of good "take home" information for farmers and consumers as conference sessions explore ways to increase profitability while growing healthful food, strong communities and clean air and water.

Conference registration and check-in will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday January 13 and 7 a.m. on Saturday January 14. The first session will start at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

PFI 2012 annual conference features unique topics & interesting speakers

"We are looking forward to rekindling old friendships and making new friends at the conference," says Irene Frantzen, a farmer from New Hampton in northeast Iowa. She adds, "There is so much knowledge packed into every session. Every year we go and we learn something new."  

The Frantzens will be guest presenters for a session on Saturday called "Preserving Your Farm." They will take participants through their family's legacy planning process, covering how they are planning now to provide for their three grown children, protect the farm and all they've worked long after they are gone. "We want to prevent a situation where the land would be sold and the proceeds used for our care," explains Tom Frantzen. Financial advisor Jim McCarthy will join the discussion, answering questions and offering advice and legacy planning strategies for participants.

The conference will also feature keynote speaker Fedele Bauccio, who co-founded Bon Appétit Management Company in 1987. Today, the company spends more than $55 million annually on food from within a 150-mile radius of each café. In 2007, the company debuted its Low Carbon Diet, the first program to make the connection between food and climate change. Bon Appétit is now a $500 million company with more than 400 cafés in 28 states serving more than 80 million meals a year.

Anyone can still register--at the door on the day of the conference

Other in-depth workshops include, "Farm Strategies for Saving Energy and Money" and "Real Life Business Plan Vetting" among many more listed below. The conference is open to the public. Although online registration has closed, anyone can still register for the event at the door. For more information, contact Patrick Burke at 515.232.5661 or [email protected].

Friday's workshops:

The Curious Grazier: Questions Asked, Lessons Learned

Cover Crops: 101 and Advanced

Extending the Season in Your Kitchen 

Farmer Strategies For Saving Energy – and Money

Growing and Selling Vegetables to a Hungry Market

Saturday's workshops:

Responding to Regulations: Pig Production in Denmark

Real Life Business Plan Vetting

Off-farm Inputs: Using Less to Earn More

Increase Sales through Season Extension

High-Energy Forages: The Key to Grass Finishing

Security through Improved Soil Health

Profitable Pigs with Alternative Feeds

Producing an Abundance for Your CSA

Investing in Farms and Farmers

Profitable Nut and Fruit Tree Crops

Mobile Meat Processing

Balancing Steel and Herbicides to Reduce Resistance

Mastering Strawberry Production

Preserving Your Farm

Eating Locally: Supporting Farmers, Growing Your Own

Major sponsors for Practical Farmers of Iowa's annual conference are Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Iowa State University Dining; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences; Calcium Products Incorporated; Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education; and Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, contact Suzi Bernhard at 515.232.5661 or [email protected].

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 our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For information, call 515.232.5661 or visit
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