Wayne and Ryan Wangsness, of Flying W Farm, will host a field day in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) and the University of Northern Iowa Tuesday, June 25.
The topic for the field day, which runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is exploring weed control in organic crop systems. The Wangsness farm is located at 1869 Middle Ossian Road, about 8.5 miles south of Decorah.
The event -- “Controlling Weeds in the Row for Organic Crops” -- is free to attend and will include a lunch provided by Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. RSVPs are requested for the meal by Friday, June 21. Sign up online at practicalfarmers.org/field-days or contact Debra Boekholder at debra@practicalfarmers.org or 515-232-5661.
The field day is sponsored by Agricultural Flaming Innovations, Blue River Organic Seed, Farm Bureau Agent Travis Feickert, Grain Millers Inc., Iowa Farmers Union, MOSA Certified Organic, Organic Valley – Cropp Cooperative – Organic Prairie, Pipeline Foods and The Weed Zapper by Old School Manufacturing.

A challenge
Managing weeds is one of the major production challenges for organic farmers.
The weeds growing within the crop row can cause the biggest problems because they can’t be cultivated out -- a practice organic growers often rely on to control weeds.
To deal with these problematic weeds, Wayne and Ryan have been flame-weeding for about 10 years, and using an electric weeder for the last three years.
At the field day, guests will get to see two different flame-weeders and hear how the Wangsnesses use electricity to deal with tall weeds like giant ragweed, pigweed and shattercane.
Brian Lang, the Northeast Iowa extension field agronomist with Iowa State University, will then discuss current diseases and pests in organic systems.
The Wangsness farm is a certified organic family farm that raises corn, small grains, soybeans, trees, alfalfa and laying hens. Ryan, Wayne’s son, is the fourth generation to farm this land and is transitioning into being the sole proprietor or partnering with his son.
Directions to the field day are available on the PFI website, practicalfarmers.org.
This event is part of Practical Farmers’ main 2019 field day season, which includes 40 events across Iowa, and the region, on topics spanning the agricultural spectrum. The field days are meant to help connect farmers with their peers for networking and farmer-to-farmer learning.
Practical Farmers’ 2019 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Bio Till; Center for Rural Affairs; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers Inc.; H.A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture – Iowa State University; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University; Iowa State Department of Agronomy; La Crosse Seed; Man@Machine; MOSA Certified Organic; Niman Ranch; PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; River Valley Cooperative; Scoular; Sunderman Farm Management; Sunrise Foods International; Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education; Trees Forever; Unilever; Welter Seed & Honey Company.

PFI works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Its values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources.