The group “Practical Farmers of Iowa” begins its two-day annual conference in Marshalltown today. P-F-I executive director, Teresa Opheim, says it’s the group’s 25th anniversary and they plan to remember the past, but also look to the future. Part of looking to the future is included in the Saturday keynote address.

Opheim says four of the younger farmers will discuss their farms and looking ahead to the next 25 years of agriculture. One of the speakers will talk about her views on trying to decide if she should go into farming. Opheim says the conference features numerous topics.

The topics include getting the most from your fertilizer, there’s a session with a couple of chefs on cooking with local foods, grazing your cattle, and marketing for small food producers. The ag industry has felt the downturn in the economy like any other business and Opheim says they will talk about that. She says pork producers have had an especially tough time, and they have some sessions scheduled on how they can minimize their cost.

Overall Opheim says P-F-I members try to look to the future and keep a positive attitude about agriculture. “They’re a wildly diverse group. We have some farmers in Practical Farmers of Iowa who have three or four thousand acres of corn and soybeans, and we have some that have three or four acres of fruits and vegetables, but they all like to get together and talk about producing food, and I think it will be a wonderful event,” Opheim says.

The annual conference is at Marshalltown Community College. Find out more on-line at: