AMES - Practical Farmers of Iowa has developed a free winter online seminar series in an effort to help farmers learn from each other without having to travel.
The interactive webinars, called farminars, are presented live from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday from Jan. 8 through Feb. 26.
There is also a special lunchtime farminar from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 24.
Enterprises span livestock, vegetable and row crop production.
The series is open to anyone, and any computer with an Internet connection may be used to participate at www.practicalfarmers.org/farminar.
All archived farminars and audio podcasts of past farminars are also available at this link.
Farminars are led by farmers from around the world, including Vermont, Wisconsin and Victoria, Australia.
Many of the presentations are in a "fish-bowl" format, where attendees listen as an experienced farmer answers a beginning farmer's questions.
Topics featured in the winter series: The Yeomans plow and Keyline design, selecting corn hybrids and soybean varieties, cover crop basics for corn and soybeans, fruit and vegetable farm crop insurance options, profit potential in high tunnels, full-time year-round employment considerations alternatives to corn and soybeans in swine feed rations, selecting beef animals for a grass-based system, and vegetable irrigation basics.
PFI's 2013 winter farminars are made possible with funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA-Risk Management Agency; USDA-Specialty Crops Block Grant Program through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Cedar Tree Foundation, Ag Ventures Alliance, Deere & Co., and Clif Bar.