Register Now For PFI 2012 Annual Meeting

Register Now For PFI 2012 Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for 2012 annual conference of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Theme is "Made from Scratch" and it's January 13-14 at the Scheman Center at ISU in Ames.

Practical Farmers of Iowa is now accepting registrations for its 2012 Annual Conference, "Made from Scratch" to be held January 13 and 14 at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building in Ames, Iowa. The event promises to "cook up" a blend of benefits for farmers and consumers as conference sessions explore ways to increase profitability while growing healthful food, strong communities, and clean air and water.

The conference is open to the public, you don't have to be a PFI member to attend. You are urged to register now, or as soon as possible. Conference check-in will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday. The first session will start at 12:30 p.m.

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

For the first time, Practical Farmers of Iowa will be offering an in-depth Soils 101 course at ISU Agronomy Hall before the official start of the conference. Soils 101 starts Thursday, January 12, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will continue on Friday, January 13, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Conference offers 20 workshops on various topics over the two days

The conference will feature keynote speaker Fedele Bauccio, who set out to revolutionize the food service industry when he co-founded Bon Appétit Management Company in 1987. Bauccio was determined to bring fresh, made-from-scratch food to the contract market. Today, the company spends more than $55 million annually on food from within a 150-mile radius of each café, uses only sustainable seafood, sources turkey breast and chicken raised without antibiotics as a routine feed additive, features natural beef burgers and leads the industry in using cage-free shell eggs. 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.

Twenty in-depth workshops will cover topics ranging from "Farm Strategies for Saving Energy and Money" to "Cover Crops" on Friday and "Real Life Business Plan Vetting" to "Increased Sales Through Season Extension" on Saturday.

Register now, and save $10 per day; here's what's on the agenda

The conference is open to the public and registrations are being taken now. Those who register by January 4 will save $10 per day. You can register online at or by contacting Patrick 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
  • U-Pick

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 additional information, call 515.232.5661 or visit
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