Practical Farmers of Iowa has announced its winter lineup of online webinars, called "farminars." PFI has five of these farminars scheduled for this winter, beginning December 28. To register and participate in the farminars, visit www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar. You don't have to be a member of PFI to tune-in to these webinars. You watch and listen from your home computer.
Farmers have asked for more learning opportunities in the off-season, with farmers as presenters, says PFI's "Next Generation" director Sally Worley. Any computer with an Internet connection can be used to participate in a farminar, which provides a "fish bowl" view of a beginning farmer learning from a more experienced farmer. Participants watch the exchange in real time via the Internet and can ask additional questions not covered by the beginner at any time throughout the farminar.
Beginning vegetable farmer Joe Monahan of Boone in central Iowa, says, "It is really reassuring to have quality information like that out there and to see how other farmers are doing things. These farminars are valuable resources."
Here's PFI's 2011 Winter Farminar line-up:
Tuesday, Dec. 28, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., "Value-Added Legal Considerations" with Sean Sullivan and Beth Kemp. Sean Sullivan manages Juan O'Sullivan's Gourmet Salsa Co. and adds value to fresh produce by converting it to salsa for supermarket shelves. Beth Kemp is a beginning farmer who sells at the Ames farmers market as Jumping Bean Farm. Her products include fresh produce, breads, and she is planning on adding more value-added products like jams and jellies.
Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., "Growing in High Tunnels" with Adam Montri and Sara Hanson. Adam Montri, Outreach Specialist for Michigan State University, and operator of Ten Hen Farms, a year-round farm near Bath, Michigan, will share how to grow crops well in high tunnels, manage for pests, fertility and rotations. Beginning farmer Sara Hanson is putting the finishing touches on a hoophouse of her own in northern Iowa.
Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., "Tomatoes Inside and Out" with Andrew Knafel, Matthew Patterson and Jennie Smith. Clear Brook Farm business partners Andrew Knafel and Matthew Patterson join us from Shaftsbury, Vermont. They grow more than 20 acres of organic produce, additional acres of on-farm biofuel and about a half acre in greenhouses. Jennie Smith's Butcher Creek beginning farm specializes in heirloom tomatoes just south of Des Moines for restaurants and farmers markets.
Tuesday, Feb. 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., "Farm Fresh Eggs - Handlers Licenses and Profitability" with Tai Johnson-Spratt and Theresa Gould. Tai Johnson-Spratt's Foxhollow Poultry Farm sells pasture-ranged meat birds and eggs of specialty poultry breeds of guinea fowl, duck, quail, chicken and turkey to central Iowa customers. Theresa Gould is co-owner with her husband Robert of Cornucopia Family Farms, which is a new vegetable Community Supported Agriculture located in the suburbs of Chicago. She and her family of 10 dream of having a bit of everything on their farm—from producing vegetables and eggs to a variety of animals.
Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., "Organic Cucurbit Production" with Glenn Drowns and Ben Saunders. Glenn Drowns with his wife Linda manage Sand Hill Preservation Center near Calamus in eastern Iowa. They save farm genetic diversity with heirloom seeds and poultry breeds. Glenn has been perfecting his techniques growing cucurbits organically for decades and is eager to share his knowledge. Ben Saunders has worked at Turtle Farm Community Supported Agriculture near Granger, Iowa for several years and is working to transition the farm to the next generation. With a university degree in Horticulture, Ben loves working with nature and education on the farm.
Farminars also held in spring, and previous ones are archived
Practical Farmers of Iowa will offer additional spring farminars in March and April 2011. Have you missed a previous farminar? All Farminars are recorded and available online at http://www.practicalfarmers.org/events/farminars.html.
Practical Farmers of Iowa's winter 2011 Farminars are made possible by funding by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of USDA. PFI includes a diverse group of farmers and friends of farmers. Corn, soybeans, beef cattle and hay are the top enterprises for PFI farmers, although many have a variety of other operations, including fruits and vegetables. PFI's programming stresses farmer-to-farmer networking through research and demonstration, field days, conferences and more. For more information, call 515.232.5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.