Practical Farmers of Iowa, an organization with a special goal to help provide a sustainable focus on the future of agriculture in Iowa, last week announced the 2011 PFI youth grant recipients. This new program from PFI provides expense reimbursement for Iowa's future farmers to conduct on-farm research and demonstrations.
This is the first year that PFI has offered research and demonstration grants to youth. In the past the organization has offered a youth camp, but decided to replace the camp with a grant program so up and coming farmers can learn how to explore farm solutions first-hand.
"Practical Farmers of Iowa has conducted on-farm research and demonstration since the beginnings of the PFI organization in 1985," says Jeff Klinge, a PFI board member and a northeast Iowa farmer, who helped select this year's grant recipients. "It makes sense to use this hands-on learning model to help our next generation of farmers learn how to find solutions for the obstacles they encounter when trying to raise crops or livestock."
A dozen recipients are receiving these inaugural youth grants
Practical Farmers of Iowa is presenting up to $250 for each project. Recipients are exploring a diverse set of questions, from keeping goats from escaping to protecting crops from insects organically. They will report their findings via an interview for the Practical Farmer, Practical Farmers of Iowa's newsletter, and by means of a poster at the annual conference. Recipients, and the towns they are from, are:
* Carrie Hermann (for Urban Dreams AgCulture), Ames
* Mason Osborne, Jefferson
• Melanie Honey Philavanh, Milo
• Heidi and HolliAnna Fank, Boone
• Scott and Luke Fank, Boone
• William Roland, Storm Lake
• Maria Elisabeth Roland, Storm Lake
• Peter James Roland, Storm Lake
• Sophia Roland, Storm Lake
• Jim Russ (for FFA Local Foods Project), New Hampton
• Victoria, Christy, Barak and Reuben Fall, Jefferson
• Sarah Daisy, Glidden
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 www.practicalfarmers.org.