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For the Best Lessons on Farming, Turn to Nature

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) works to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information sharing, representing a diversity of farmers. Their members have conventional and organic systems, employ diverse management practices, run operations of all sizes, and come from a range of backgrounds. These farmers come together, however, because they believe in nature as the model for agriculture and they are committed to moving their operations towards sustainability.

Beef cattle represent the largest segment of the livestock-owning members of Practical Farmers of Iowa. To help make their operations more sustainable and productive, PFI works with them to implement techniques to improve soil and water quality.

During a mid-November pasture walk with fellow cattlemen, Bruce Carney discussed pasture management while his Angus cattle grazed the adjoining field. Through intensive rotational grazing, Bruce Carney is able to extend his grazing season well into winter. Bruce shared his plans for upcoming conservation projects. He plans on digging swales to capture water runoff from the row-crop farm that sits above his pasture. Along the swales, he will plant fruit and nut trees that eventually will provide shade for livestock. In addition to his permaculture plans, Bruce will be planting a six seed cover crop mix this fall in his neighbor’s row crop fields for cattle to graze in fall and spring.

Topic: Mississippi River

January 2017