Acreage management improved through Small Farms Conference

The third annual Iowa Small Farms Conference will be held Feb. 10 in Ames, Iowa. Speakers will highlight topics that include farm finances, hops production, gardening, wildlife habitat, beekeeping and much more.

“This conference offers a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics,” said Christa Hartsook, small farms program coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “It’s our goal that attendees gain valuable insight on enterprise options and acreage management.”

The conference will begin with a keynote presentation on farm finances from Craig Chase, program manager for the Local Foods Program with ISU Extension and Outreach, and Paul Dietmann, senior lending officer with Compeer Financial.

Three breakout sessions will follow, allowing attendees to select topics that meet their individual needs and interests. Breakout sessions run for one hour and are taught by ISU Extension and Outreach specialists.

“This year we are featuring hands-on sessions to end the day so attendees can practice apple grafting, installing drip irrigation systems and set up a live bee hive,” said Hartsook.

Breakout Session 1

Interested in Hops Production in Iowa?—Diana Cochran, assistant professor and Extension fruit specialist;

Fearless Farm Finances 2.0—Chase and Dietmann; and

Raising High Quality Vegetable Transplants—Ajay Nair, associate professor and Extension vegetable production specialist.

Breakout Session 2

Wildlife Habitat Improvement—Adam Janke, assistant professor and Extension wildlife specialist;

Tapping Trees for Maple Sugaring—Jesse Randall, assistant professor and Extension forester; and

Mushroom Production—Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca, plant pathology diagnostician with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.

Breakout Session 3

Learn how to Graft Apple Trees—Patrick O’Malley, Extension commercial horticulture specialist;

Installing Drip Irrigation Systems—Joe Hannan, Extension commercial horticulture specialist; and

Beginning Beekeeping—Randall Cass, Extension entomologist.

The Iowa Small Farms Conference will be held in the Scheman Building, Iowa State University, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Early registration is available for $50 until Feb. 2, with registration moving to $75 after that date. For more information and to register, visit

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