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Reclaiming Resilience – Practical Farmers of Iowa
January 16 @ 8:00 am - January 18 @ 5:00 pm
Four separate short courses are scheduled this year. Registration for the short course is priced per person; members are offered a discounted rate. Short courses begin on Thursday at 1 p.m. and end on Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center. Lunch prior to and dinner following Thursday’s course are not provided. Thursday evening is an ideal time to go out to dinner with fellow farmers.
For short course attendees only, we offer an optional box lunch you can purchase following the short course on Friday. Indicate your box lunch preference in the registration process. Due to the short 1-hour break between the end of the short course and the start of the conference on Friday, many short course attendees find this option convenient.
In the sessions at this year’s conference, learn how to improve soil; increase crop and market diversity; reduce inputs; increase financial viability; increase investment in conservation; enhance wildlife habitat; and work toward thoughtful farm transfer. This year’s conference is structured a bit differently than year’s past. Friday will include three sessions and Saturday will have four
“Winter is the time when we delude ourselves into thinking that the coming year will be one of clean fields, abundant moisture, bumper crops and few, if any, problems.”
This sentiment from Vic Madsen, who farms near Audubon, is common fiction we as farmers fabricate in the quiet, rejuvenating winter months. Farmers’ best laid plans are vulnerable to disruption each year: weather, pests and market volatility, to name just a few, can lead to crop and livestock losses and diminished returns.
Today, farms are less resilient than they used to be. Farms have gotten larger and there are fewer neighbors to depend on. Less crop diversity means less economic resilience if a crop fails. Less variety on the land creates vulnerable landscapes.
As we embark on 2020, Reclaiming Resilience will examine the current state of our farms and our food systems. This endeavor is not about going backwards in time or unraveling progress. It’s about reclaiming resilience to help family farms survive into the future. Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2020 conference will explore what’s working well and why, as well as what needs to change. We’ll ask if we’re doing certain things because that’s how we’ve always done them – and if there are better ways to create resiliency into the future.
Reclaiming Resilience will include ample time to create and strengthen relationships with others. These connections are vital to creating a farming community where we work together for Iowa’s common good. You will leave this conference armed with ideas about how to strengthen resiliency on your farm, and how to build an agricultural system that benefits farmers, rural communities and our natural resources.