NEWTON, Iowa — With land access an increasingly daunting obstacle for beginning farmers in Iowa, Practical Farmers of Iowa hopes to ignite dialogue, networking and greater understanding between beginning farmers and farmland owners at a new annual event.
The inaugural Next Generation Summit will take place on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 2-7 p.m., at the Maytag Event Complex in Newton (403 W 4th St North, located near the Des Moines Area Community College’s Newton campus).
The event is free, thanks to the support of presenting sponsors Rob and Susan Fleming, of Danamere Farms, and will feature educational and networking components to help participants better understand their own goals and farm visions, as well as each other’s challenges and aspirations.
An evening reception starts at 5:30 p.m., and is open to all farmers, landowners, aspiring farmers and supporters. All are invited to come learn about the issues facing transitioning farmers and land. To register for the summit or the reception, visit bit.ly/NextGenSummitRSVP or call (515) 232-5661 by Monday, Aug. 20.
The ultimate aim of the summit is to foster constructive conversations and new connections that can begin to break down farmland access barriers.
“Beginning farmers in our network have identified access to farmland as one of their greatest barriers to starting a farm,” says PFI Next Generation Director Greg Padget. “Sixty percent of farmland in Iowa is owned by people 65 years or older, and 35 percent of farmland is owned by people 75 or older.”
The summit starts at 2 p.m. with workshops aimed at helping aspiring farmers and farmland owners develop a plan to fulfill their farm visions. Farmland owners will work with Dave Baker, director of Iowa State University’s Beginning Farmer Center, and PFI Executive Director Sally Worley, on setting goals that can help them work toward a farmland legacy that reflects their values. They will also learn about how to take steps to begin the transition process when the time is right.
Greg Padget will help aspiring farmers walk through the process of determining their farm goals and planning the next steps. All workshop participants will have an opportunity to start the planning process, and to network with other aspiring farmers and farmland owners.
At 5:30 p.m., free appetizers and beverages will be served, and guests will have ample time to converse with one another. Practical Farmers of Iowa staff and members will honor supporters funding our vital next-generation work, and discuss how PFI is making an impact getting the next generation of farmers on the land.
— Practical Farmers of Iowa
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