Farming the Sun: The Ecology of Chemical Energy
Whether grass, legume, deciduous or coniferous, almost all plants grow the same way. Thus, a firm grasp of the basic biochemistry behind plant growth is essential to the success of the forage, the animal and the farmer. This two-part series offers an in-depth – yet simplified – understanding of energy cycling and photosynthetic plant growth. This session will focus on the importance of gas exchange, soil and water quality, and vital symbiotic relationships with microflora in the environment.
Speaker: Mark Bader
Doudlah Farms Organics: Why and How We Transitioned to Organic
Regenerate your soils using value-added organic production. Learn how Doudlah Farms transitioned to organic by using cover crops while aligning with today’s consumer demands. Soils Health = Plant Health = Human Health. Learn how!
Speaker: Mark Doudlah
Risk and Conflict in Family Farm Businesses
Why do we avoid communications in family businesses? How can we create an atmosphere where communication can happen, even when the stakes are high? Business coach Rena Striegel will help families address these issues. She will discuss the reasons why conflict occurs in family businesses and offer strategies to minimize conflict. In a follow-up session in Round II, Rena will help you talk about succession planning, including challenges, and how to prepare for the discussion, clarify expectations and deal with disagreements.
Speakers: Rena Striegel --Dan and Lorna Wilson
An Economic Evaluation of Cover Crops in Midwestern Agriculture – “CCAs: 1.5 CEU credits approved”
In 2017, Alejandro, along with a team of researchers from ISU and Practical Farmers of Iowa, collected over 800 responses to a Midwest cover crop economics survey. He will report the results of this research, including partial budgets created from cover crop scenarios, and share an economic evaluation of the social benefits of cover crops associated with reducing soil erosion and keeping nutrients in place.
Speaker: Alejandro Plastina
Managing a Young and Growing Orchard
Returning to the farm in 2012, Emma and Marcus have expanded the orchard from the initial planting in 2003, focusing on medium-density production for farmers markets, CSA and institutional buyers. They will share their orchard management schedule and practices, orchard improvements, and successes and mistakes they’ve made as beginning orchardists.
Speaker: Emma and Marcus Johnson
Non-Traditional Methods of Accessing Capital
Capital can be essential when establishing or expanding your farming operation, but figuring out where to seek capital can be difficult. Three farmers will share their experiences with accessing capital by non-traditional methods such as crowd-source funding and CSA member investments.
Speakers: Rick Hartmann -- Melissa Dunham -- Jordan Clasen
Ecology and Management of Iowa’s Common Vegetable Insect Pests
Donald will examine the ecology of common vegetable pests to better understand how pests develop into populations that cause unacceptable losses, and why populations can vary from year to year and place to place. While much of insect ecology is out of our control, Donald will discuss IPM tactics that can help solve pest problems while preserving the ecosystem.
Solar-Powered Livestock: From Plants to Animals
While all biological components in feeds and forages can theoretically be converted to caloric energy, not all are actually usable by the animal. Both plant and animal metabolic requirements must be met before growth and production can occur. Mark will discuss how biochemical, microbial and mineral-nutrient interactions in livestock relate to the consumption of feeds and forages within the surrounding environment, and to feed efficiency. He will also discuss sustainable practices to overcome imbalances; optimize dietary intake to improve nutritional balance and health; and maximize performance and output.
Speaker: Mark Bader
Using Habitat to Increase Beneficial Insects on Fruit and Vegetable Farms
Providing on-farm habitat for pollinators and predatory insects can take a variety of forms. Sarah and Dave have installed prairie plantings and other habitat around the Midwest; they will share specific examples and best practices, and will answer questions about beetle banks, prairie, field borders and flowering strips.
Speakers: Sarah Foltz Jordan -- Dave Williams
Carbonomics – “CCAs: 1.5 CEU credits approved”
Carbonomics is a unique approach to looking at the big picture of soil health by comparing the economy of a country to the economy of the soil. This session will explore the relationship between plants, soil and biology – and how they are interconnected. We will look at supply, demand, currency, capital, energy, resources, infrastructure and defense. The role of carbon in this system, and how it functions as currency, will be explored.
Speaker: Keith Berns
Traditional Methods of Accessing Capital
Capital can be essential when establishing or expanding your farming operation, but figuring out where to seek capital can be difficult. Three farmers will share their experiences with accessing capital by traditional methods such as bank loans, EQIP funding and much more.
Speakers: Chad Hensley -- Jenny Quiner -- Rory Van Wyk
Developing Relationships to Implement Conservation on Rented Cropland
The four speakers in this session represent landowner-tenant relationships where the landowner and tenant together implemented conservation practices on the rented ground. They have added in-field and edge-of-field conservation practices such as cover crops, no-till, terraces, a waterway, a bio-reactor, prairie strips and a saturated buffer. Both pairs will review how they started conversations about these practices, and the legal and financial arrangements they agreed upon to put these practices in place.
Speakers: Lee Tesdell -- Mike Helland -- Gary Guthrie -- Danny Harrison
Alternative Models and the Future of CSAs
Many diversified vegetable farmers rely on CSAs for a stable market and early-season cash flow. But with more options to find local food, will CSAs survive? Three farmers will share their CSA models and experiences, discuss their views of trends and markets in Iowa, and answer audience questions.
Speakers: Laura Krouse -- Danelle Myer -- Jordan Scheibel -- Erik Sessions
How to Talk to Your Family About Succession Planning
Why do we avoid communications in family businesses? How can we create an atmosphere where communication can happen, even when the stakes are high? As a follow-up to her Round 1 session, Rena Striegel will help you talk about succession planning, including challenges, and how to prepare, clarify expectations and deal with disagreements.
Speakers: Rena Striegel -- Dan and Lorna Wilson