Risk Management Workshops to Focus on Amish and Mennonite Growers

June 27th, 2005

Reducing management risks for Amish and Mennonite farmers is the focus of a $39,000 grant awarded to Mark Gleason, Iowa State University plant pathology professor.

The competitive grant was awarded to Gleason by the North Central Risk Management Education Center. Gleason is working with Iowa State University faculty and extension field specialists to organize eight workshops and six field days, and provide reference materials in nine county offices.

"Our hope is to reach about 250 families and help these growers meet the horticultural, pest management, pesticide safety and marketing challenges they need to sustain their farms," Gleason said.

An increasing number of Amish and Mennonite farmers are diversifying from row crops into horticulture crops to ensure sustainability. Gleason said this is the first grant awarded to Iowa State to work with these groups. The workshops and field days will be held throughout the next year.

The first field day will be held tomorrow in Orchard at the Daniel Zimmerman farm from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Neil Wubben, Mitchell County extension education director, is coordinating the event. The field day will include presentations about plant diseases, insects, commercial vegetables and crop management. Patrick O'Malley, commercial horticulture field specialist for Eastern Iowa, will coordinate the second workshop to be held in Kalona on Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Mark Carlton, Iowa State extension agronomist, will coordinate the field day on July 5 at the Allan Helmuth farm near Bloomfield. For more information go to: http://www.plantpath.iastate.edu/extension/ncrmec/.

Contacts: 

Mark Gleason, Plant Pathology, (515) 294-0579, mgleason@iastate.edu
Barbara McBreen, Communications Service, (515) 294-0707, barbmc@iastate.edu