PFI Field Days Focus on Crops, Grazing, Next Generation

Practical Farmers of Iowa hosts on-farm field day in Polk County July 29 and in Benton County on August 2.

Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a field day at the farm of Craig and LaVon Griffieon on Tuesday, July 29 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The farm is located in Polk County, north of Ankeny, in central Iowa. Discussion will include the following: turnips for grazing and cover crops, transitioning to organic production, monitoring water quality to improve pasture management, breeding corn for sustainable agriculture and PFI's Next Generation Program.

Craig and LaVon Griffieon have a diversified farm with Limousin beef, chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep and 1,100 acres of corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. Their children Autumn, Nick, Phillip and Julia have raised pastured poultry for 10 years. Autumn and her husband Laramie have recently returned to the farm. The Griffieons direct-market their products with the goal of producing products that meet the needs of customers and sustain the environment. The Griffieons began offering tours of their farm in 1987. They rent 3 acres of their land to area gardeners for vegetable production.

Directions: Take I-35 to the Elkhart exit. Go west to Hwy 69, then south 1 mile on Hwy 69. Turn west on NE 118th Ave. and go .5 miles to the first gravel road, NE 6th St. Turn south on NE 6th St. Look for first house on the east side of the road.

PFI Field Day Aug. 2 at Van Horne

Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a two-part event on Saturday, August 2. The field day will begin at 4:00 p.m. at the home of Eric and Ann Franzenburg. Discussion will include: culture and post-harvest handling of medicinal herbs, high tunnel tomato and flower production, adding an enterprise to the farm, making more profit on fewer acres, corn boiler heating systems and organic certification. At 6:30 the event will move to the Tara Hills Country Club for a gourmet fundraiser dinner by Ben Halperin, executive chef and owner of the acclaimed Augusta restaurant. Reservations are required for dinner. To register, contact Cedar Johnson at 515-232-5661 or [email protected].  

Eric and Ann Franzenburg started farming in 1993 with Eric's parents. They added herbs to the conventional farm in 1995 as a way to diversify and increase profits. The new enterprise was a success, and the Franzenburgs now grow 130 acres of medicinal herbs. 2008 will be the third year of tomato production on the farm, and first year for flower production. The Franzenburgs built three new high tunnels on the farm this year to accommodate their new enterprises.

Ben Halperin recently moved to Iowa via New Orleans with his wife Jeri. They opened Augusta Restaurant in Oxford this past January. The restaurant, serving "comfort food with a Cajun twist," has become a destination place for many. The gourmet dinner Saturday evening will feature food from local farmers.
Directions to the farm: From Hwy 30, turn north on CR-V42 for 3 miles. Go north on CR-E44 for 4 miles. Go north on 19th Ave. for .7 miles. Farm is on the right.

Directions to Tara Hills Country Club: From the Franzenburgs, go south on 19th Ave. for .7 miles. Turn west on CR-E44 for .4 miles. Tara Hills is on the left.

PFI is a non-profit sustainable agriculture group dedicated to farming that is profitable, environmentally sound, and healthy for consumers and communities. Founded in 1985, PFI has over 700 farmer and non-farmer members throughout Iowa. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit

TAGS: Soybean
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