Each week well talk with a new member of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Well hear from young and old; new and experienced; small and large; horticulture, livestock and row-crop farmers. Well talk with farmers about the issues most relevant to farmers, like crop production, on-farm research, improving soil and water quality, farm profitability, and of course, food.
On-Farm, Episode 017: Maria and Ron Rosmann – Rosmann Family Farms31/08/2017 Duration: 56min
For the final episode of the first season of On-Farm, we visited the farm of Maria and Ron Rosmann of Rosmann Family Farms near Harlan. The Rosmanns have been instrumental in many of the most important agricultural movements of the last 30 years: They were pioneers in organic livestock and row crops, and were among the core of farm families that helped Practical Farmers of Iowa get off the ground in the mid 1980s. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On today’s show, we’ll talk about the history of their farm, their upcoming field day on September 9th, organic row crop and hog production, and the next generation – all three of their sons are working in agriculture, two of them on the family farm. You can check out a short video about their upcoming field day: https://youtu.be/zFtYCY2Ut7k – or learn more in this press release. The post On-Farm, Episode 017: Maria and Ron Rosmann – Rosmann Family Farms appeared first on Practical Farmers of Iowa.
On-Farm, Episode 016: Jamie Hostetler – Rolling Meadows Farm25/08/2017 Duration: 48min
This week on the show, we have Jamie Hostetler of Rolling Meadows. Jamie farms with his family near Bellevue in eastern Iowa, where they raise 100% grass-fed beef and sell Red Devon cattle for seed stock. In 2010, shortly after moving to the area, they seeded row crop ground down to pasture and have been practicing high-density grazing to regenerate the soil and produce gourmet-quality, grass-finished beef. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On September 16, the Hostetlers will be hosting a field day on their farm focused on all things grass-fed beef production. They’ll talk production, from grass-efficient genetics, interseeding annuals to perennial pastures, and rotational grazing, all the way to market – what a grass finished animal looks like when its ready for market. On today’s show, we’ll talk all things regenerative grazing and grass-fed beef. The post On-Farm, Episode 016: Jamie Hostetler – Rolling Meadows Farm appeared first on Practical Farmers of Iowa.
On-Farm, Episode 015: Earl Canfield – Canfield Family Farm17/08/2017 Duration: 55min
This week on the show, we have Earl Canfield of Dunkerton in northeast Iowa. Earl farms with his wife Jane and their four children. Their children represent the sixth generation of the Canfield family to be on the land since the mid-1860s, for which they received a Heritage Farm Award at the Iowa State Fair in 2016. The Canfields are making a transition from growing strictly corn and soybeans for commodity markets to growing and direct marketing a diverse mixture of value-added products, including whole grains, mixed feeds, produce and eggs. On September 7th, they’ll be hosting a field day on their farm focused on all the things that it takes to grow and market oats and hay in Iowa. In addition, the Canfield Family has spent the last two years relearning how to grow small grains in Iowa. They have researched machinery, production strategies and varieties, in addition to seeking potential market streams. One opportunity is to direct-market small grains to small-scale livestock owners as either whole grains
On-Farm, Episode 014: Chris Teachout09/08/2017 Duration: 55min
Chris Teachout (left) This week on the show, we had Chris Teachout, who farms near Shenandoah in southwest Iowa with his wife Janenne. Chris is a fifth-generation farmer, and he and his family have been using conservation practices on their farm since the mid-80s. He raises corn, soybeans and small grains, and has been using no-till practices for over 20 years. Ultimately, his goal is to regenerate his soil with cover crops and biology. On this show, we talk with Chris about how he got started with cover crops, what soil health is, and what he hopes people will learn at his field day. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On August 29th, Chris will host a field day on his farm, where the soil scientist Jill Clapperton will speak about soil regeneration and soil health. The event is free for members of Practical Farmers of Iowa – you can find more information and RSVP at this link. The post On-Farm, Episode 014: Chris Teachout appeared first on Practical Farmers of Iowa.
On-Farm, Episode 013: Kevin Dietzel – Lost Lake Farm02/08/2017 Duration: 01h32min
This week, On-Farm traveled to Lost Lake Farm, the farm of Kevin and Ranae Dietzel, to talk to Kevin while he made mozzarella cheese and cheese curds. Lost Lake Farm is a small, grass-fed cow dairy that produces artisanal cheese in an on-farm cheesery. The Dietzels operate the farm with low capital and a small herd. They focus on what they’re good at: grazing cattle and turning milk into a high-value product. Their cows are a mix of breeds, but are bred to Normande, a French breed known to produce milk for great cheese. The farm includes 80 acres of pasture and hay. Cattle are rotated through the pastures twice daily. On today’s show, we talk with Kevin about how they got started, the challenges of working long hours to make artisan cheese, how mozzarella is made, on-farm research, biodynamics, markets, and how the process of delicious cheese starts with healthy soil. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On August 14th, the Dietzels will lead a tour of their cheesery and milking facilities, whi
On-Farm, Episode 012: Tyson Allchin – Allchin Acres28/07/2017 Duration: 56min
Tyson Allchin of Allchin Acres (photo courtesy of Muscatine Area Farmers Market) This week on the show, we have Tyson Allchin of Allchin Acres near Columbus Junction. Tyson has spent much of the last 10 years of his life learning everything he can about mushroom cultivation. He’s grown a variety of different species of mushrooms, from oysters – which he says are the easiest to cultivate – to shiitake, to lion’s mane and many others. He says that mushrooms are relatively easy to grow if you learn a few basic things, and we discuss all of it – from preparing a substrate, to inoculation, to harvest, to eating – on this week’s show. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On August 8th, Tyson will be hosting a field day at his farm. In addition to touring his mushroom production building, he’ll show people where he grows microgreens and tour some of the land he rents to Chin refugees, who moved to Columbus Junction from their native country of Myanmar (also known as Burma). The post On-Farm, Episode
On-Farm, Episode 011: Russ Wischover – Windswept Acres21/07/2017 Duration: 53min
St. Croix sheep graze at Russ Wischover’s farm in southwest Iowa. This week, On-Farm is back on the road and we visited the farm of Russ Wischover – Windswept Acres – right on the Missouri border in south west Iowa. Several years ago, Russ retired from his job as a herdsman at the University of Illinois’s swine research farm and bought a farm near Bedford. Since then, he’s converted the ground to multi-species perennial pasture and prairie for his St. Croix sheep, Murray Gray cattle and draft horses to graze. Although he’s spent a lifetime planning his farm and learning about animals, he’s always thinking about how what he’s learned starting this farm could be helpful to beginning farmers. On the show we talk about that, and also about his August 21st field day focused on multi-species grazing, prairie and pasture establishment, fencing and watering systems, livestock breeds for grass-finishing cattle and sheep, and much, much more. Russ says that one of the most important influences of his life has been he
On-Farm, Episode 010: Wendy Johnson – Joia Food Farm13/07/2017 Duration: 43min
Wendy Johnson and Johnny Rafkin of Joia Food Farm. This week on the show, On-Farm was back on the road, this time stopping at Joia Food Farm near Charles City to talk to PFI Board Vice President Wendy Johnson. Wendy and her husband Johnny own and operate the farm, where they raise a little of everything, from chickens and turkeys to pigs and sheep to organic row crops, and diversity is a tenet of their farm operation. They not only have a diversity of crops and livestock, but they feed their animals diverse feeds. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On August 3rd, Wendy and Johnny will be hosting a field day on their farm focused on conservation – addressing both in-field issues like cover crops and “farmed potholes” (low lying wet areas) – and edge-of-field conservation practices, like grassed waterways and riparian buffers. With all of these topics, they we will discuss how farmers can find a balance between environmental and economic goals. The post On-Farm, Episode 010: Wendy Johnson – Joi
On-Farm, Episode 009: Marty Schnicker – Schnicker Specialties06/07/2017 Duration: 51min
Marty Schnicker’s state-record-winning watermelon Have you ever wondered how they grow those giant veggies at the state fair? This week on the show, we have Marty Schnicker of Schnicker Specialities, who has your answers. Marty, who farms with his wife Mary near Mt. Pleasant in southeast Iowa, knows how to grow really big vegetables. He holds the Iowa State Record for heaviest watermelon grown, tipping the scales at 209 lbs. But watermelons aren’t the only thing – they grow big everythings from cabbage to cantaloupe. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On July 15, they’ll be hosting a field day on their farm, where they will lead a tour of their giant high tunnel, offer production and management tips and answer questions. On the show, we’ll find out how these giant vegetables are grown and how big (but maybe not state record big) vegetables sell well at the farmers’s market. The post On-Farm, Episode 009: Marty Schnicker – Schnicker Specialties appeared first on Practical Farmers of Iowa.
On-Farm, Episode 008: Scott Ausborn29/06/2017 Duration: 47min
Jack and Scott Ausborn This week on the show, Scott Ausborn stopped by the KHOI studios. Scott farms with his parents, Jack and Linda, where they raise corn, soybeans, hay and pasture as well as sheep and cattle. He also works for Blue River Hybrids, an organic seed company based in Ames, and he serves as board president for the Iowa Organic Association. Scott and his family are currently transitioning some of their farm to organic, and on the show we talk about that, from why they decided to transition to how the process works. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On July 11th, Scott and his parents will host a field day on their farm near Ida Grove in north central Iowa. The field day, a partnership between Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa Organic Association, will focus on transitioning a row crop farm to organic production. To RSVP or learn more information about the field day, check out the press release. The post On-Farm, Episode 008: Scott Ausborn appeared first on Practical Farmers o
On-Farm, Episode 007: Tom Frantzen – Frantzen Farm22/06/2017 Duration: 42min
Tom Frantzen in his hybrid rye This week on the show, On-Farm was on the road – I traveled to Frantzen Farm in northern Chickasaw County to talk to Tom Frantzen. He and his wife Irene run a diversified organic farm where they raise organic hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans, hay and small grains. They have been members of Practical Farmers of Iowa since the beginning, and some of our most enthusiastic supporters. In the interview, Tom says he and Irene can’t imagine a world without PFI. I think most PFI members would agree, and would also agree that the reverse is true: we can’t imagine a PFI without the Frantzens. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music The Frantzens will be hosting a field day on their farm on June 29 from 2-5 p.m. and they will be talking about hybrid rye and hogs, and also about the perennial grain crop Kernza – developed by the Land Institute in Kansas – which Tom has a one acre test plot of on his farm. For more information, check out this news release on their field day or see
On-Farm, Episode 006: Jon Yagla – The Millet Seed Farm15/06/2017 Duration: 37min
Jon Yagla and Wren Almitra of The Millet Seed Farm Jon Yagla of The Millet Seed Farm in Iowa City was our guest this week on the show. Jon runs this urban farm with his partner Wren Almitra in the Longfellow Historic Neighborhood of Iowa City. The farm consists primarily of a series of vegetable beds in yards in the neighborhood making up about a fifth of an acre. On that ground, the farm produces food for a 20-person CSA. On the show, we talk about how Jon got started farming; how he manages to cram so many veggies in so little space; using yard waste, city compost and cover crops for fertility; no-till production; Practical Farmers’ Savings Incentive Program and his favorite type of family of veggies to grow, alliums (including the Egyptian walking onion). Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On June 24, Jon and Wren will host a field day at their farm focused on urban vegetable production, reducing both living and production costs, no-till production, their CSA and much more. You can RSVP
On-Farm, Episode 005: Phil Specht – Pearlmaker Holsteins09/06/2017 Duration: 51min
Phil Specht Phil Specht of Pearlmaker Holsteins was our guest this week on the show. Phil farms with his wife Sharon near MacGregor in northeast Iowa. He’s been running a grass-based, rotationally grazed dairy in the hills of Clayton County since the 1970s, and conservation has always been important to him. In 2013, his brother Dan passed away in a farm accident, and Dan’s friend Mary Damm purchased Dan’s farm. Since then, Phil and Mary have been conducting on-farm research on the links between pasture management, plant and soil diversity and grassland birds. On the show, we range from the practical to the esoteric – talking with Phil about the politics of conservation, grazing management, Facebook poetry, ways of knowing and much more. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play Music On June 22, Phil Specht and Mary Damm will host a field day at Dan’s farm focused on grazing, grassland birds and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). You can RSVP for the field day, which will include dinner and cam
On-Farm, Episode 004: Maggie McQuown and Steve Turman – Resilient Farms01/06/2017 Duration: 46min
Maggie and Steve on Resilient Farms Maggie McQuown and Steve Turman of Resilient Farms were our guests on the show this week. Maggie and Steve moved to the their farm near Red Oak in southwest Iowa where they “retired” about five years ago. Since then, they’ve been working to improve the resilience of the farm, which has been in Maggie’s family for more than a century. On the show, we talk about the different conservation practices they’re using to improve soil and water quality; working with farm operators on conservation efforts; farm transitions to future generations; and their newly built, ultra-efficient Passivhaus. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher Maggie and Steve wrote a legacy letter published in the new book “The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letter Project” edited by Teresa Opheim. You can find that letter in Teresa’s blog From “Pleasant Prospects” to “Resilient Farms”: Maggie McQuown and Steve Turman on their farm legacy. On June 15, Maggie and Steve will be hosting a field
On-Farm, Episode 003: Deb Finch – Finch Livestock25/05/2017 Duration: 52min
This week on On-Farm is Deb Finch of Finch Livestock. Deb farms with her husband Eric near Marshalltown in east-central Iowa, where they raise meat goats for direct to consumer sales. They began raising goats a little more than 15 years ago. On the show, I talk with Deb about all things goats – from feed to fencing to health to markets, and her upcoming field day. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher One of the biggest problems goat owners face is that the animals are highly susceptible to parasites. In the past, when goat owners had problems with parasites, they treated them by administering de-wormer to the entire herd. But Deb and many other goat farmers have moved toward only treating animals they know to be infected, largely in an effort slow resistance to de-wormers. Using the FAMACHA test and doing fecal eggs counts are two ways that goat owners can use to determine which animals need to be dewormed. On June 27, Deb and Eric will host a two-part event on their farm that will cover those and many other to
On-Farm, Episode 002: T.D. Holub – Garden Oasis Farm18/05/2017 Duration: 55min
T.D. Holub was featured on this week’s On-Farm. This week on On-Farm, T.D. Holub of Coggon in eastern Iowa. T.D. and his fiancée, Sarah Gericke, grow fruits and vegetables for farmers’ markets, restaurants, grocery stores and for a 100-person CSA. On the show, I talk to T.D. about his upcoming field day – on June 9, “Tractors and Tools with T.D.” – focusing on some of the farm machinery he’s purchased over the past few years for the vegetable operation. Included: a water wheel transplanter, a Williams tool bar system, an Allis Chalmers G tractor, a homemade walk-in cooler and more. Also, we talk about whole food and health, selling “weird” vegetables and coming back to the family farm. Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher To learn more about T.D. and Sarah, check out their website, Garden Oasis Farm. Stay tuned to Practical News each week for new episodes! You can find out more information about On-Farm at practicalfarmers.org/podcasts. The post On-Farm, Episode 002: T.D. Holub – Garden Oasis Farm appeared first
On-Farm, Episode 001: Jill Beebout – Blue Gate Farm11/05/2017 Duration: 44min
“On-Farm: Conversations with Practical Farmers” is a new podcast from Practical Farmers of Iowa. Each week, I’ll interview a different farmer. We’ll hear from new and experienced; young and old; small and large; horticulture, livestock and row-crop farmers. We’ll talk with farmers about the issues most relevant to the farming community: the nitty gritty of growing and raising all sorts of plants and animals; on-farm research; protecting and improving soil and water quality; farm profitability; the challenges facing beginning farmers; building community in rural areas; and of course, food. And… the first episode is up! Our first guest on the podcast is long-time PFI member Jill Beebout. Jill owns and operates Blue Gate Farm near Chariton in south-central Iowa with her partner Sean Skeehan. They raise fruits and vegetables for a small CSA (community supported agriculture) and also sell their produce at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market. In addition, they produce free-range eggs, raw honey, alpaca fiber