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Diversified Agricultural Systems Field Day

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Diversified Agricultural Systems Field Day

September 6, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm



September 6 Field Day


Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Jóia Food & Fiber FarmSavanna InstituteUniversity of Minnesota Forever Green, and USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), will host a field day Wednesday, September 6 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Wendy Johnson and Johnny Rafkin’s farm near Charles City. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal. 

Hosts Wendy and John started Jóia Food & Fiber Farm in 2010 with a mission to farm holistically. While farming organic row crops, they decided to keep some of the land to pasture for soil health, water quality and drainage concerns. The farm is now certified organic, with some areas in transition to organic using Kernza®. Sheep and lambs are certified Animal Welfare Approved and they also raise pigs, broiler chickens, layer chickens, turkeys, a few cows of their own and custom graze a 25 cow/calf herd. With growing interest in agroforestry, they are utilizing silvopasture through the integration of trees and shrubs, including fruit and nut types, in their pastures. Additionally, Wendy co-owns Counting Sheep Sleep Company, a wool fiber business utilizing Jóia’s wool and co-manages the family farm, Center View Farms Co, with her father and has helped to expand conservation practices on her family’s traditional row-crop farm to become more sustainable and regenerative by implementing 100% no-till, adding cover crops, and reducing costly inputs. 

Weather permitting, the program will feature a field tour and discussion with Jenn Ripp, agroforestry educator with the Savanna Institute highlighting ways to integrate silvopasture in the grazing system. Matt Leavitt, perennial grains and winter annuals agronomy specialist at University of Minnesota Forever Green, will discuss the use of Kernza as a perennial crop that is being used for food, feed and brewing. Omar de-Kok Mercado, Mad Agriculture Midwest regional manager will share their role in helping producers transition to perennials. Josh Heims, Floyd County NRCS district conservationist, will share cost opportunities available for grazing, agroforestry and transitioning to organic.

The field day will be held at Jóia Food & Fiber Farm located at 2038 March Avenue, Charles City, IA 50616 and will be held rain or shine. The farm is located on the east side of the road right and field day signs will mark the driveway to enter. Insect repellent will be provided and attendees are encouraged to wear long pants and closed toe shoes. 

The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP please contact Liz Ripley at 515-294-5429 or Attendees will be entered in a drawing for ISU Prarie Strips honey.