The 99th annual meeting and state convention of Iowa Farmers Union will be held November 15 and 16 in Des Moines. Theme for the 2013 Iowa Farmers Union State Convention is Food for Thought: Envisioning the Future of Family Farming & Food Policy in Iowa. The event will be held at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, located at 1000 Walnut Street in downtown Des Moines.
A full schedule of interesting topics and speakers is on the agenda. The IFU convention features a Beginning Farmer Policy Forum on Friday November 15. The session gets underway at 10 a.m. and runs all day until 4:30 p.m.
Beginning farmers and farm policy advocates should attend to learn, discuss and share ideas on how policy can be used to promote the success of Iowa's next generation of family farmers, say IFU officials. The day will feature a series of interactive workshops on policy topics impacting beginning farmers and ranchers:
Federal Programs for Beginning Farmers, featuring John Whitaker, state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency and Bill Menner, Iowa director of USDA Rural Development.
Improving Farmland Access & Affordability in Iowa, featuring John Baker & David Baker, ISU Extension Beginning Farmer Center
Noon meal, featuring a locally-sourced menu
Risk Management Considerations for Beginning Farmers, featuring Vallery Eisenmann, Iowa Territory Manager for Hastings Mutual Insurance Company
Iowa Food Safety Regulation & the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, featuring Roger Noonan, President of the New England Farmers Union
Regulatory & Social Policy Considerations in Marketing Local Foods, featuring Matt Russell, Drake Agricultural Law Center
Closing Discussion: Creating a Policy Agenda for Iowa's Beginning Farmers
Attendees at the Friday session are invited to stay for a get acquainted reception of cocktails, farmers & friends from 5:30PM-7:30PM at Raccoon River Brewing Company, 200 10th Street, Des Moines. For more information about the forum and conference, visist the Iowa Farmers Union website.
Learn about efficient crop marketing and distribution of local foods during a free Practical Farmers of Iowa webinar Nov. 12
In other beginning farmer news, Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a free farminar on "Efficient Marketing and Distribution of Local Foods" on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 7-8:30 p.m. CDT. The farminar is an interactive online seminar that will explore how adding a distribution business to the farm can help increase efficiency and the amount of local food available in nearby communities.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Participants will hear from John Lash, an established local food distributor in Texas, and Ellen Walsh-Rosmann, an Iowa beginning farmer, about her vision for a food distribution company, and then listen as the two discuss considerations when creating a local food delivery business.
Since 2007, John Lash's company, Farm to Table, has helped distribute locally grown vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and cheeses to restaurants, grocery stores and institutional clients. Starting with a few dozen customers, Farm to Table now serves more than 500 in Austin, San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country with farm products from 18 local farms. Ellen Walsh-Rosmann operates Pin Oak Place, near Harlan, Iowa, growing fresh vegetables and managing an organic egg-laying poultry flock with her family. She recently gained access to a delivery truck to distribute products to restaurants and select grocery stores in the Omaha area.
Practical Farmers of Iowa developed these interactive webinars – called farminars – in an effort to help farmers learn about business and production issues that matter to them from the convenience of their homes. Most farminars are led by farmers, and many are presented in a "fish-bowl" format where attendees listen as an experienced farmer answers a beginning farmer's questions.
To participate: Click here, then click the link to connect and sign in as "Guest." Pre-registration isn't required but those who register will get emails one week and one day in advance as a reminder. All upcoming and archived farminars as well as free audio podcasts of past farminars, are also available at this link.
Practical Farmers of Iowa's 2013 fall farminars are made possible with funding from Ag Ventures Alliance, Grain Millers, John Deere, 211 individual donors to the "100 Days, 100 Beginners" fundraising campaign, Farm Credit Services of America, The Ceres Foundation and The Cedar Tree Foundation.