Practical Farmers of Iowa farminar series

Practical Farmers of Iowa will continue its online learning series – called “farminars” – for the 10th winter season in a row. The webinar series features practical knowledge shared by farmers and experts on a wide range of topics for row crop, livestock and fruit and vegetable growers.

Held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST, each farminar focuses on a unique production or business management topic. All presentations are led by an experienced farmer or subject-matter expert, and attendees are able to ask questions in real time using a chat box while they listen and watch a slideshow. The presentations are free for anyone with an internet connection.

To participate, visit A schedule for all upcoming farminars – as well as the recordings for 159 past farminars – is also available at this link.

Feb. 5 – “No-Till Vegetable Production” – Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser
Intensive, agroecological, no-till food production systems have dramatic functional benefits for our ecology, natural resources and communities. Elizabeth and Paul will discuss how they have implemented an intensive, no-till, hand-labor vegetable production system that is profitable while restoring soil carbon, soil biology and macro-ecology on their farm. Some of the topics they’ll cover include field preparation, crop rotation, nursery management, nutrient cycle management and hedgerows, as well as the pest and climactic benefits of these approaches.

Feb. 12 – “Ridge-Till Vegetable Production” – Brian Caldwell, Jordan Scheibel
Ridge tillage is a system used mainly in row crop production that allows for some cultivation while reducing soil erosion and improving soil quality. Beds are shaped into elevated ridges, and only the tops of the ridges are cultivated prior to planting. Many vegetable producers, such as Middle Way Farm’s Jordan Scheibel, want to gain the soil-building benefits of this conservation tillage practice on their farms. The complexity of a diverse vegetable farm, however, presents some challenges to using this type of tillage. Brian Caldwell managed a Cornell research project that trialed ridge-till systems for organic vegetable production. He will share with Jordan the best practices for adopting a conservation tillage system on his farm.

Feb. 19 – “Precision-Seeded Cover Crops” – Jon Bakehouse, Michael Vittetoe
As cover crops are more widely adopted, many farmers are experimenting with planting methods to make the most use of their time and resources. Jon Bakehouse has experimented with special plates that let him use his planter to seed cereal rye on 15- and 30-inch rows. Michael Vittetoe has been experimenting with seeding cereal rye on 8-inch twin rows on 30-inch centers using a drill. Both farmers will share their thoughts on these seeding methods and what they plan to do in the future.

Feb. 26 – “Proper Planning for Farmland Succession” – Andrew Behnkendorf, Stephen and Crystal Riggins
Farmland transfer can be a stressful and difficult process without proper consideration and planning. Though every situation is different, early planning and communication in any transfer case can help solve problems before they arise. Join this farminar to hear from a professional planner about what issues need to be considered, and from Stephen and Crystal Riggins about their experience transferring their farm from the previous generation and to the next.

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