Registration open for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 annual conference

Practical Farmers of Iowa is now accepting registrations for its 2015 annual conference, “Mapping Our Future,” which will take place January 23-24 at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building, on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. All are welcome to attend. Register online at
This year’s theme spotlights the decisions Iowa farmers face as they wrestle with land management and farm transfer, erosion and soil health, price and weather volatility – including a range of possible solutions to help make farms more resilient and connected in the future. From farmer-led sessions on extended crop rotations, irrigation and land transition to pollinator habitat, profit margins and grazing systems, attendees will come away with ideas for how to chart their own farming futures.
Tama County farmland owners and stewards Larry and Margaret Stone say they’re excited about the diverse scope of sessions at Practical Farmers’ 2015 conference.
“Soil ecology, crop rotations and diversity, cover crops, prairies to improve land health, biodiversity, ‘Map of My Kingdom’ – what a great lineup of topics for the PFI annual conference,” Larry says. “All this plus the opportunity to network, trade ideas and learn from other Iowans who love our land. We’re looking forward to a rewarding experience.”
Pre-Conference Short Courses: The conference has two short course options: “Tell Your Story: The Farm Legacy Letter” and “Healthy Soil for Healthy Crops.” Both courses run Thursday, January 22 from 1-7 p.m. and continue January 23 from 8-11:30 a.m. at Oakwood Road Church on the south side of Ames.
Workshops: Attendees can choose from 29 in-depth workshops spanning topics as diverse as multi-species grazing, non-GMO crops, crafting an herbicide plan, energy conservation, re-establishing on-farm prairie, getting started in organics, business planning and making the most of a meat bundle. In addition, attendees will get to choose from 10 Saturday morning breakfast sessions, as well as eight “U-Pick” sessions on topics selected this fall by Practical Farmers members.
Play Performance: The conference will feature a performance of “Map of My Kingdom,” a play about the critical issue of land transition that was commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa and written by Iowa playwright Mary Swander. The play tackles difficult issues such as who gets the farm, how planning – or lack of it – affects family dynamics, scenarios of struggle and strife, and family and land viability. Mary is an author, the former Poet Laureate of Iowa and co-founder of AgArts, a national organization that imagines and promotes healthy food systems through the arts.
Registration: Special rates are available for students and PFI members. Those who pre-register by January 15 will save $10 per day. Register online at or by contacting Erica Andorf at or (515) 232-5661.