Farmer Education

Beginning Farmer Education & Training Sample Workshops
In winter months the Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, hosts workshops for beginning farmers. All workshops are meant to help beginning farmers answer the important questions and make sound decisions as they start new farm businesses. All workshops are part of the Local Food Producer Education and Training Program of the Field to Family Regional Food Coalition. The Local Food Producer Education and Training Program is coordinated by the Iowa Valley RC&D.

Small Farm Planning 101
Come and join others like yourself who want to start or improve a business of growing and selling local food to consumers. Andy Larson, ISU Extension program specialist for small farm sustainability, and Dave Baker, ISU Beginning Farmer Center – Farm Transition Specialist, will help you write and design a vision for your local food production business, inventory your resources and evaluate your next steps to becoming a successful local food
producer. A panel of two veteran producers will be available to share their stories and dreams, offer suggestions, and answer your questions.

Business Management and Decision Making on the Farm
Trying to decide when to purchase a piece of equipment or simply decide the proper product mix to match your income goals? Craig Chase, a Farm & Ag Management Field Specialist, will show you how to use enterprise budgets
to make pricing, product mix, and production changes, use partial budgets to make investment decisions like machinery and land and how to use whole-farm records to evaluate how your business is doing and make educated business decisions.

Legal Strategies of Land Acquisition and Transfer for Beginning Farmers
Are you a beginning farmer trying to find land to start a new farming business or just expand a existing business? Come and listen and share ideas about different forms of purchasing, leasing, and renting land. The workshop will also give details into land transfers and share tools that are available.

Creating a Food Safety Plan for Your Farm
Come and learn about a farm’s food safety plan and how to begin creating one for your new farm. Food safety plans are important when creating a product that will be sold as food to customers. Many institutions and other food buyers require certification of Good Agricultural Practices and creating a food safety plan for your farm is the first
step towards completing a GAP audit. Whether you are going to get audited or not a food safety plan is still important to have in place. At this workshop, part of the day will be in the classroom and the other part will be at a local farm where participants will be able to do a mock audit of a farms packaging facility and record keeping procedures.

Capturing and Organizing Data for Organic Certification, GAPs Compliance, and Other Endeavers
Paperwork can be the bane of the certified-organic, GAPs-audited, and financially-aware farmer. Learn how to capture information, get on top of your paperwork, and wow your inspector, auditor, and banker. Rock Spring Farm’s Chris Blanchard will provide an overview of the basic techniques he and his crew use to gather information and keep it organized for easy access with a minimum of effort.

Merchandising and Marketing
As you plan your farm business what types of markets are you hoping to sell your products at? Do you want to sell at farmers markets, your local grain elevator, to restaurants, wholesale to groceries, distributors, or even schools? Come and learn about the pros and cons of each marketing option and learn about best practices with each option.

Planning Your CSA: Presentation & Tour
How does an experienced CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmer make sure to have enough quantity and variety for CSA members every week of the season? Come enjoy an afternoon at ZJ Farm where you can learn from two experienced CSA farms on cover crop scheduling, deciding on a fair share size, what to do about crop failure and excess, how to fill the space between the end of spring crops and full production of summer crops, and fall season extension with and without a high tunnel.

To learn more about upcoming workshops contact:
Jason Grimm, Food System Planner at the Iowa Valley RC&D
319.622.3264 or