In January, we joined PFI at the Scheman Building in Ames, Iowa for their annual conference.
Practical Farmers of Iowa’s mission is to strengthen farms and communities, which is right up our alley at Niman Ranch. This nonprofit group was founded in 1985 as an organization for farmers. They use farmer-led investigation and information sharing to help farmers practice an agriculture that benefits both the land and people. As a matter of fact, many Niman Ranch farmers are members and even deeply involved hosting on-farm educational tours for the new and seasoned farmer interested in learning more.
We have supported PFI for many years and it’s reciprocal. They have embraced us from the very beginning by helping to organize, source ingredients, assist in the kitchen and host our very first Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner at the Hotel Forte Des Moines.
Niman Ranch was happy to donate Bratwurst for the luncheon on Saturday and Prosciutto for the snack breaks in between sessions along with a Niman Ranch Charcuterie Gift Basket for the silent auction and a Raised With Care T-shirt.
It was a fun time to reconnect with farmer friends, Dan and Lorna Wilson, Vic Madsen, and Kate Gilbert among others.
Janet Hackbarth, Dad and I set up a booth to talk to the farmers who attended the sold-out event about the benefits of becoming a part of our network of family farmers at Niman Ranch. I am encouraged to see the public taking an interest in how their food is being produced. With more interest, we have gained more support for our farmers, increasing the demand for Niman Ranch pork which has generated an increased demand to find more farmers who are willing to raise their hogs outdoors on pasture, or deeply bedded pens with plenty of room to move and behave naturally without antibiotics and fed a strict vegetarian diet.
We had a lot of interest in our booth and connected with some new folks that may just have a future with us at Niman Ranch. It’s nice to see Niman Ranch sponsoring important events and organizations like Practical Farmers of Iowa. If you are in Iowa check them out. If not find a group you can connect within your area, Minnesota has a wonderful group, Land Stewardship Project, it seems if you connect with other like-minded farmers you will find groups like this supporting our rural communities across the country.