The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) and the Iowa Farmers Union (IFU) are delivering a free field day for farmers and others interested in learning from local experts about organic transition, dual cropping systems, and conservation practices. The field day on July 24 in Polk City, focusing on organic transition and dual cropping systems as a part of IOA’s 2018 Summer Field Days series.

Attendees will spend a summer morning at the Lehman Family Farm (3190 NW 142nd St.) in Polk City. Aaron and Nicole Lehman have a 400-acre farm where they raise conventional and organic corn, soybeans and hay. The Lehmans will discuss the challenges and opportunities of having both conventional and organic farming systems. The Field Day will begin with an introduction to the Lehman farm, followed by a tour of conventional and organic fields. The Lehmans will speak about their organic transition process, the market for their organic crops and how they maintain organic integrity on a farm with both organic and conventional crops.

Aaron is the president of the Iowa Farmers Union and is also a member of the advisory board of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Aaron and Nicole are both graduates of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. Nicole Lehman has an MS in microbiology and immunology from Duke University School of Medicine. Until 2016, she was a senior research associate at DuPont Pioneer. Nicole and Aaron have two children, Jordan and Benjamin.

Leah Ellensohn, the resource stewardship outreach specialist at the National Farmers Union, will give farmers an introduction to the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET). RSET is a free program designed to help Iowa farmers and ranchers improve their working lands conservation efforts. Aaron was one of the first farmers in Iowa to test the tool, and was impressed with the process. “It was very easy to take a snapshot of our farm from a conservation standpoint. From there we could evaluate the potential benefits of additional conservation practices on that individual field. It takes a lot of guesswork out of conservation planning.”